Abokobi/Ghana More than 320,000 schoolchildren and 80,000 families from Ghana will benefit from a school feeding programme launched last week by Dubai Cares, the UAE-based philanthropic organisation.
The four-year Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) programme in Ghana will improve the education, health and nutrition of primary schoolchildren and the livelihoods of rural households.
The programme, which is receiving approximately Dh10 million in funding from Dubai Cares, will be implemented by the philanthropic organisation with Partnership for Child Development (PCD) and will support the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP), a poverty reduction initiative launched in 2005 by the Ghanaian government.
Besides offering a free meal to primary schoolchildren, the programme also offers a complimentary de-worming treatment for the children to ensure they benefit from the nutrition they receive.
With the launch of this programme, Dubai Cares is now reaching over seven million children in 28 developing countries with its comprehensive primary education programmes.
The programme was launched in an official event in Ghana attended by a Dubai Cares delegation led by Tareq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares, representatives from the local government and several international organisations including Ghana School Feeding Programme, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World Food Programme and the World Bank.
Speaking at the launch event, Al Gurg said: "This programme is based on the principle that healthy children learn better. Homegrown school feeding programmes, which are part of Dubai Cares' holistic and integrated school health and nutrition programmes, have [been] shown to improve children's regular school attendance as well as their cognitive learning [abilities] through healthier and nutritious food intake."
On a global level, these interventions are helping developing countries achieve their Millennium Development Goals related to primary education, he added.
The programme will not only benefit schoolchildren, but marginal rural communities as well, since the commodities required for producing the nutritious meals for schoolchildren will be procured from local farmers.
Speaking to the press on the sidelines of the opening, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, Ghana's Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, said there were 1.5 million children enrolled in government schools who were targeted by the programme.
"So far, we have reached about 40 per cent of them and this resulted in these children attending school regularly," he said.