A new concept under which members of the community pool resources to provide free meals for pupils in primary schools and kindergartens in some deprived areas of the Eastern Region has been introduced.
The concept, which is to supplement the government’s free-meal programme for schools, is an initiative of 4-H, a non-governmental organisation (NGO).
Under the programme, the NGO assists the community with different types of seed for cultivation on either a communal farm or school garden and the cultivated crops are used to prepare meals for the children.
The schoolchildren will also be introduced to gardening and equipped with sporting skills.
So far, four schools at Akurmesu and Dawa Trim in the Upper Manya District, Mepom in Upper West Akyem and Larbikrom in the Atiwa District have been covered. 4-H Director
At the official launch of the initiative at the Mepom R/C Primary, the Director of 4-H, Mr Appiah Kwaku Boateng, said the main aim of the concept was to make free meals available to pupils in remote areas not covered by the government-sponsored school feeding programme. Poverty
According to him, although foodstuffs are produced in the rural areas, most farmers sell all their produce, leaving almost nothing for the family to depend on.
As a result, schoolchildren, some of them very young, go to school on empty stomachs and are unable to concentrate in class.
This unfortunate situation is responsible for the falling standard of education in rural areas.
To sustain the initiative, Mr Boateng said his outfit would continue to mobilise parents and give all the necessary support, adding “no child should study on an empty stomach.”
He also gave out plastic plates and cups to the pupils for their meals
The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Upper West Akyem, Mr Derrick Ohene Asirifi, was full of praise for 4-H for making food available to the pupils and donated a bag of rice to the school. More schools in the district, he assured, would be put on the government’s school feeding programme.
The introduction of the schoolchildren to gardening was seen by the DCE as the right approach for the children to take to farming in the future.
The Krontihene of Mepom, Nana Pobee Buabeng II, promised to give out land for a school farm. GH¢500 seed money
The Headteacher of the school, Mr Emmanuel Tongo, was of the view that the GH¢500 seed money provided by the staff for the initiative would be supported by parents for its sustenance.
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