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Opinions of Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Columnist: Awal Mohammed

School feeding not a brainchild of NPP

The school feeding programme was never a brainchild of the President kuffour administration. Ghana was part of the 189 countries that adopted the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals ( MDGs ) in 2000 under president Rawlings.

The first two goals are
1. To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. To achieve universal primary education
According to the United Nations World Food Programme, 66 million primary school age children go hungry every day, with 23 million hungry children in Africa alone.

In order to eradicate hunger and increase enrolment, in 2003, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, established the UN Hunger Taskforce (UNHTF) together with AU’s NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) designed the Home-grown School Feeding as part of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development.

Ghana, Uganda, Kenya and other African countries were chosen to pilot the programme.

The Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) started in earnest in 2005 as a pilot programme in at least one school in every of her ten regions.

Hans Eenhoorn, a former Dutch top executive of the Unilever multinational was a member of the Hunger Taskforce and played a crucial role to convince the Dutch Government to Support Ghana to implement the expanded first phase between 2007 and 2010 with a little over 400,000 school children across the country.

The Netherlands government agreed to give Ghana € 40 million that will cover 2007 to 2010.

Government of Ghana under president Mills assumed full responsibility and expanded it to rural areas. The school feeding programme can now boast of over 1.7 million children across the country without any external support.

Looking at the history behind the school feeding I think the first credit should be given to president Rawlings for signing up with the millennium development goals.

Whichever political party was in power between 2001 and 2008 will only implement what the UN was rolling out.

So I find it incongruous that Mr Akufo-Addo who was a cabinet minister then fully acquainted with these facts, will lie through his teeth and tell Ghanaians that the Kuffour administration initiated and introduced school feeding programme.

In fact, they rather denied Ghana the funding for the second phase 2010 and 2016 because of the malfeasance that took place under Dr Amoako Tuffour. It came to light from the audit conducted by Pricewater House Coopers, at the instance of the Royal Dutch Embassy.

The Ndc government believes in continuity that is why we chose to continue with the policy under the same name Ghana school feeding programme even after the donor country withheld the funding in 2010.

We could have changed the name and paint the picture that we have initiated a new policy just like when president kuffuor collapsed Omnibus Service Authority (OSA) and introduced metro mass transit ( I'll tackle this in my next epistle)

The truth must be told.
We are watching
Awal Mohammed
Dep National com. Officer Ndc Zongo Caucus