Over nine million schools pupils are currently benefiting from the federal government’s homegrown school feeding programme, it was revealed.
The pupils who are in 34 states of the country and the FCT are said to be fed by over 100,000 cooks scattered across the country.
The figure was revealed in Abuja on Friday by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq during the one year anniversary of the ministry.
The minister also hinted that the establishment of the ministry has reduced the rate of unemployment amongst youths despite continuous population growth with the N-Power programme.
According to her, about 109,823 beneficiaries from Batch A and B of the N-Power programme have set up businesses in their various communities.
Highlighting some of her achievements in the last one year, the Minister said:
“It is exactly one year today that this Ministry came into being through a pronouncement by His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari.
“So far for the one year we have been in existence, I would say it has been an eventful, challenging, and rewarding journey. Challenging in the sense that the Ministry is saddled with the responsibility of overseeing responsibilities that were hitherto domiciled in other MDAs and also providing the much-needed coordination of humanitarian interventions in Nigeria.
“It is rewarding in the sense that when we visit the field and see beneficiaries whose lives are being changed by the FG humanitarian interventions, it leaves us with a sense of fulfillment that we are doing something worthwhile for humanity.”
On some of the programmes supervised by the ministry, Farouq said: “School feeding programmes are part of social safety nets deployed to address both malnutrition and poverty amongst low income and poor families. The programme is conceived as a multi-sectoral intervention with gains in educational, health, and socio-economic outcomes.
“Thus far, the program is implemented in 34 States and the FCT and the total number of children enrolled on the programme are 9,196,823 and it can be verified from the National Bureau of Statistics, while the total number of cooks are 103,028.
“As part of the value chain, the programme has improved the nutrition and health of the children, increased school enrolment and completion, sustainable income to smallholder farmers as well as stimulating growth and productivity in communities where schools are situated. Not forgetting financial inclusion as all cooks are compelled to open and operate bank accounts.”
On the programme targeted at the youths, she said:
“The N- Power programme has impacted significantly on the lives of Nigerians by addressing unemployment and improving the livelihood of a critical mass of young unemployed Nigerians.
“As at the last count, about 109,823 beneficiaries from Batch A and B have gone on to set up businesses in their communities, underlining and highlighting the impact and importance of the N-Power programme. We have successfully exited the 500, 00 Batch A and B beneficiaries and closed registration for Batch C with a total of 5,042,001 registrations received.
“We are gratified to note that through N-Power, we have achieved a net lowering of the youth unemployment figures despite population growth. We are striving to achieve even more.”
She also stated that the ministry was working towards the establishment of the National Disability Commission and the take-off of the National Senior Citizen’s Centre.
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