No Fish, No Meat
Pupils relying on the School Feeding Programme have to do without any form of protein in their diet. Some also have their food served to them in polythene bags.
Caterers who spoke to The Finder newspaper said the money provided by the programme has made it impossible to add fish or meat to the food for the pupils.
They said managers of the programme currently pay 35 pesewas per child; an amount they said was ‘woefully inadequate’.
A caterer who supplies food to the Mamprobi South ‘4’ School wondered, “What can 35 pesewas do? We cannot provide fish or any form of protein for the children.
“Most of us were not directly engaged by the authorities in charge of the School Feeding Programme,” she said. “We are subcontracted by some other persons who deal with the authorities. They engage us and buy the ingredients for the preparation of the food. All we do is go for the ingredients from our madam, who buys it from the market.”
She said she picks a taxi everyday to the school, since she lives far from the school. Her monthly salary ranges between GH¢70 and GH¢80.
She said even though she has not been paid for months, she has no other job to do. Since the money is inadequate, she mostly prepares rice for the pupils, “Once a while I prepare waakye or beans and gari for them.”
The story was no different at the Manprobi Sempeh ‘1’ School.
At the Kuntunse M/A Basic School in the Ga West Municipality of the Greater Accra Region, pupils in long queues were being served with rice and stew with no fish or meat, when The Finder got there.
Some of the pupils in the queue held polythene bags to collect their food since they had no plates.
Most of the pupils in the upper primary classes were not interested in the food.
Teachers complained that the feeding sometimes disrupted teaching. Since it was just one caterer feeding pupils from kindergarten to primary six, it sometimes took long hours for the children to be served, they said.
Some of the pupils get their meals around 2.30 when classes were supposed to be in progress.
Interestingly, the District Operations Manual of Ghana School Feeding Programme states that the aim of the programme is to provide children in public primary schools and kindergartens with one hot adequate nutritious meal a day.
Page 28 of the manual says “food [for the programme] should contain all six food groups, that is animal product,…and nuts, fruits and vegetables, cereals and grains, fat and oil, starchy roots and plantain. Meat or fish, stews and soups must be sufficient and provide seasonal fruits at least once a week.”