By Abiodu Alli
Ogun State Government has commenced training for 3,505 cooks under the National Homegrown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), with the view of equipping them with knowledge about the best practices and application of COVID-19 protocols.
Wife of Ogun State Governor, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun, while flagging – off the training and distribution of cooking utensils to the cooks in Abeokuta, said it was another step by the State government to strengthen capacity of the cooks, in line with the new normal imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mrs. Abiodun said women empowerment was necessary to attain sustainable economic development in the society, adding that any avenue to support women-led businesses or initiatives was a step in the right direction.
She noted that the Home-Grown School Feeding initiative was the United Nations’ world food programme , that links school feeding programme with local small holders farmers, to ensure that school children were getting nutritious food that is safe for consumption.
“Today’s events put the people who we have entrusted with providing food for our children at the center of the initiative, because we realise you are key players in ensuring that we prevent any harm from coming to our children. So, I encourage you to take today’s sessions very seriously. Use the invaluable lessons you learnt as life skills and implement them in your homes, communities and other endeavors as well”, Mrs. Abiodun said.
Earlier in his opening remarks, Commissioner in the Ministry, Mr. Femi Ogunbanwo said the training was part of the measures put in place to ensure a successful implementation of the programme in the State, adding that if government failed in its responsibility to train cooks on best practices and new normal, its success rate might become minimal.
Ogunbanwo, while expressing appreciation to Governor Abiodun, for his generosity, said it was imperative to note that the event is a symbolic representation of his commitment to the welfare and wellbeing of the people.
“Unlike the practice before now, when the cost of the purchase of coolers and uniforms were deducted from the small amount paid to the cooks, our caring Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun gave the directives that the coolers and uniforms should be given to the cooks free of charge, that no single deduction should be made from the monthly payment of the cooks”, Ogunbanwo said.
In her goodwill message, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker, noted that the nutrition of pupils was important to their educational performance, individual productivity and attendance rate.
Earlier in his address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Mr. Kehinde Onasanya said the training was organised to enlighten the cooks about their roles, duties and responsibilities under the School Feeding Programme in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines.
Onasanya noted that the initiative was one of the Social Intervention Programmes (SIPs) of the Federal Government which the State keyed into, owing to the vision of the Governor, in terms of healthy living for pupils and empowering women, charging the cooks to pay attention to the resource persons.
Two of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Oladunjoye Dolapo and Mrs. Imoleayo Adeogun appreciated the State government for its gesture in empowering them with cooking utensils and giving them the right training on COVID-19 guidelines.