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COVID-19: Humanitarian Affairs ministry is working hard to mitigate challenges posed by hunger – Farouq

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The Minister, Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq has flagged off the modified Home Grown School Feeding Programme in the FCT.

Sadiya Farouq performed the commencement of the programme today in Kuje, Abuja.

She said that the Modified Home Grown School Feeding is a National Programme funded by the Federal Government but implemented by the states.

According to Farouq, ” the ministry is working hard with our partners both at National and International levels to mitigate the challenge posed by hunger especially during this trying period.”

The Minister disclosed that she was in Kuje to flag off the commencement of the modified programme in the FCT and to also conduct a spot check of the operations.

Farouq explained that hunger is a serious by-product of this pandemic crisis, which is why from the onset the Ministry has been evolving strategies to facilitate humanitarian interventions in the country.

She maintained that the commencement of the school feeding programme today was based on Mr. President’s directive to the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to liaise with State governments to develop strategies on the continuation of the school feeding programme.

She further disclosed that the Ministry in consultation and collaboration with State governments identified the distribution of Take-Home Rations (THR) to the households of the children on the programme as a feasible method of achieving this directive after exploring several options, this according to her is a globally accepted means of supporting children to continue to have access to nutrient rich foods despite disruptions to the traditional channels of school feeding.

She highlighted that beginning from today in Abuja, this programme will target parents and guardians of children in primary 1 to 3 in public schools participating in the programme.

‘’We are working with the World Food Programme, who are providing technical support while other agencies of Government have been invited to provide an extra layer of monitoring. They include the DSS, EFCC, ICPC, Code of Conduct Bureau and a host of NGOS and CSOS. The Ministry is using the opportunity of the Programme to collect and verify data with the support of CSOs and NGOs’’, she added.

The programme will impact 3,131,971 households across the nation out of which the FCT has 29,609 households. The Take Home Rations will be distributed to parents and guardians of the children in six Area Councils in FCT- Kuje, Kwali and Abaji on Thursday and Friday while the distributions continue in Amac, Bwari and Gwagwalada on Monday and Tuesday next week.

Sadiya Farouq said Lagos and Ogun states are next ports of call before the programme moves to other states of the Federation.

In his remarks, the Nigeria Country Director, World Food Programme, Paul Howe, noted that everyone shares the aspiration for Nigeria to be a country with zero hunger but COVID-19 had really been a setback.

He said the WFP and other partners are in support of the Ministry’s leadership in trying to address in a high quality, effective and timely manner the crises of hunger caused by COVID-19.

Howe encouraged more collaboration between the Ministry and other partners to achieve zero hunger for Nigeria.

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