Smiles beamed the little faces of Junior High School year three students (JHS) in the Kassena-Nankana Municipal and West District as they received packed jollof rice and eggs for lunch under government’s hot meal intervention.
Monday, August 24, 2020, was the first day of implementing the intervention and pupils are already grateful to the government for feeding them.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo recently, in his COVID-19 address to the nation, stated that the intervention was in response to the plight of Junior High School pupils in the wake of the deadly COVID-19. He said for two weeks, the pupils will enjoy free varied meals, as they prepare for the Basic Education Examination Certificate (BECE).
Following the President’s directive, JHS year three pupils across the country on Monday, August 24, 2020, received packed meals in the comfort of their classrooms.
In the Upper East Region, over 600 hundred caterers have been tasked with providing the hot meals to over 24,000 and 2,000 candidates in public and private schools respectively.
In the Kassena-Nankana Municipal and West Districts, where GhanaWeb visited some schools to monitor the first day of the implementation, meals were ready before noon.
At the Korania JHS, the pupils were served with Jollof prepared with local rice and an egg. Chilled sachet water was also provided for the pupils as they sat comfortably in their classrooms.
The meals were served in plastic takeaway bowls with strict conformity to the COVID-19 prevention protocols as caterers, teachers and pupils washed and sanitized their hands before contact with the food. They also wore nose masks.
Vida Abalori, a caterer who spoke to GhanaWeb said the money given to prepare the meals is not enough. According to her, each pupil is allocated Ghc3.50pesewas including packaging which she complained is woefully inadequate.
She said the material for packaging the food is expensive and that could affect the quality of food in some cases. She was however quick to state that she in particular was able to manage what is given her to feed her school.
“The first day of the hot meal intervention is well but it’s all about the money. The money is not all that big but this what we have managed to prepare. We prepared Jollof with shito and egg”.
“The money given is Ghc3.50 per child but you can see the very expensive takeaway pack. The takeaway pack alone is Ghc 2.50. Everything is costly in the market now so Ghc5 would have been enough”. He appealed.
Most of the caterers GhanaWeb spoke to, a lot of whom do not want to be identified, said the first day of the implementation went smoothly without any challenge. They, however, appealed to government to increase the spending per child to ensure the food quality.
Pupils who interacted with GhanaWeb said the hot meal would enable them study as most of them come to school with empty stomachs. They also said it would greatly encourage attendance.
“Most students fail to come to school because in the morning they don’t get food to eat. Some will come but will be sleeping while they are teaching us. But because of the food, most of us have come and I can see that they are proud of the food and it will make learning interesting”. Said Bafoga Kennedy as he devoured his food.