The Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) has held two separate Regional Validation workshops in Accra and Kumasi to engage key stakeholders to va
The Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) has held two separate Regional Validation workshops in Accra and Kumasi to engage key stakeholders to validate its Operations Manual before final approval.
Addressing the Accra version of the workshop, the National Coordinator of GSFP, Mrs. Gertrude Quashigah said that the Operations Manual is what guides the activities of school feeding at the National, Regional, District and Community levels.
She noted that, some sections of the old Manual and its technical annexes needed to be revised to reflect the current best practices, hence the need for GSFP and its partner, UNICEF-Ghana to engage a Consultant in February, 2020 to review the existing Operational manual.
Three stakeholder consultative workshops, Mrs Quashigah noted were therefore held in Accra, Koforidua and Kumasi between August and September, 2020 with the Consultant, after which an Operations Manual Review Committee was constituted to discuss and review the work done by the Consultant.
The members of the Committee were drawn from Governmental Agencies including the GSFP, PPME of the MoGCSP, MoFA, GHS, GES, MLGRD as well as some development partners including UNICEF, WFP, FAO and Partnership for Child Development (PCD) between February and April, 2021.
The GSFP in spite of the many challenges, according to the National Coordinator is well focused, poised and positioned to achieve its core objectives of increasing school enrolment, attendance and retention; reducing hunger and malnutrition among children in public basic schools and Kindergarten, and boosting domestic food production by patronizing produce from our local farmers in the various communities.
Mrs. Quashigah observed that, due to the regular support from Government and other development partners, the GSFP in the last few years had made significant impact in the development of education in Ghana, and continues to feed 3,448,065 pupils in 10,832 basic public schools in the 260 districts nationwide.
She disclosed that the Government had also announced plans to increase the number of beneficiary pupils to over 4 million; and to also digitalize GSFP operations by 2022.
Mrs. Quashigah encouraged all the participants to take the workshop seriously and make significant inputs so that the final document will meet the required standards, enhance the operations of GSFP and guarantee a brighter future for the school children who are the ultimate beneficiaries of the Programme.
On his part, the Consultant, Mr. William Niyuni said that the GSFP Operations Manual was made up of six (6) chapters and technical annexes. Chapter one talks about the Overview of GSFP; chapter two – Pre-implementation activities such as selection of districts and new schools, sensitization of key stakeholders, training of trainers and re-orientation programme, cooking and feeding facilities among others.
Chapter three he said also covers the Implementation Activities – procurement of caterers, pre-contracting phase, contracting phase, post-contracting phase, replacement of caterers, institutional strengthening and capacity building, nutrition standards and measures, procurement of foodstuffs, programme monitoring and case management etc.
Mr. Niyuni indicated that chapter four also deals with the Financial Management and Accountability – description of financial management, financial reporting, description of financial accountability, internal and external audit; chapter five talk about Public Relations – Community engagement, district interface meetings, public relations channels, and Management Information Systems (MIS) while chapter six also talks about Post Implementation Activities – Post Implementation Programme – evaluation types and evaluation approaches among others.
The Director of Operations -GSFP, Mrs. Doris Gaba commended UNICEF for their immense support to the Ghana School Feeding Programme over the years, especially in sponsoring the consultative, revision and validation workshops as well as cost of printing of the Operations Manual.
Mrs. Christine Gbedemah, UNICEF Representative at the workshop said that her outfit was associated with the Ghana School Feeding Programme because it was child-centered and focuses on building the human capital of Ghana.