School feeding programs in Ghana aim to meet the nutritional needs of children who are unable to obtain nutritious, well-balanced meals outside of the school setting. These programs are implemented in schools across the globe and have proven to be highly effective. Understanding the objectives of school feeding programs will ensure that children continue to have their nutritional needs met on a regular basis.
Nutrition has a direct impact on a child’s health, and therefore, on his or her academic performance. Children who are not receiving adequate nutrients from their diet, such as iodine, iron and protein, and who are plagued by hunger or diseases that are brought about as a result of their diet, do not perform as well, academically, as their peers who consume nutritious, healthy meals.
School-aged children who have poor nutrition and health experience delays in their cognitive development. These delays are typically the result of physiological changes or a reduced ability to take part in the learning process.
Overview of the School Feeding Programs in Ghana
The school feeding program in Ghana provides lunches to more than 975 primary schools throughout the area. More than 1 million school-aged children receive well-balanced lunches as a result of this program. The program was the result of the collaboration of the government.
Ghana was the first of 10 countries in the Sub-Saharan region of Africa that implemented a school feeding program. The program was modeled after the guidelines set forth by the NEPAD. Since its implementation, the school feeding program in Ghana has been highly successful. Efforts are being made to improve the success of this program in order to ensure better gains.
Objectives of the School Feeding Program in Ghana
There are three primary objectives of the school feeding program in Ghana.
- Improve the nutritional needs of children who attend school and ease short-term hunger in underfed or malnourished children, as well as children who are well nourished.
- Enhance the cognitive functions of school-aged children, which will increase their academic performance by improving their attention span and concentration, in addition to reducing absenteeism.
- Encourage parents to register their children in school and ensure that they attend school on a regular basis.
There is also an indirect objective associated with the school feeding program in Ghana: it could help to increase the amount of food that is available for the members of households of school children. Household members will be able to consume more of the food that they have access to, as they will not have to provide as much food for the children in these households who are attending school.
More Detailed Assessment of School Feeding Programs in Ghana
The basic idea behind the school feeding program in Ghana is to ensure that children who are enrolled in public primary schools in the lowest income areas receive a hot, nutritious meal once a day. The food offered is locally sourced. As such, this program not only aids school children and their families, but it also helps to boost the agricultural economy. In the long term, the goal of this program is to reduce poverty and to provide food security throughout the country.
The objectives of the school feeding program in Ghana are based on conceptual framework. Firstly, the ultimate objective is to improve food security for poor rural households and communities. By feeding school aged children who are malnourished or who have limited access to food with foodstuffs that are locally prepared, more money will be spent on food that is sourced from the local area. This will increase the output of local farms, which will help to generate more wealth at both the rural household and community levels.
Secondly, as income are improves, poor rural households will be able to afford the additional food that is needed for their household members in order to ensure that the nutritional needs of all are met. This program not only addresses the rampant short term hunger problems that affect the people of this area, but also improves the overall economy.
The school feeding program in Ghana also helps to promote participation in the community. The schools rely on the community to organize and implement the feeding program, which increases contact and communication between community members. For example, parents and teachers, as well as school and government officials are in better communication with one another, which directly improves the quality of education children receives. This also helps to ensure that children’s overall needs are being met, as well as the needs of the community, as a whole.
Outcome of the School Feeding Program in Ghana
Since the school feeding program in Ghana was implemented, several studies have been conducted to assess its effectiveness. Several studies have illustrated that there has been an increase in primary school enrollment rates in Ghana’s public primary schools. Moreover, attendance rates have increased and the number of drop outs has decreased.
Moreover, it has also been found that children who are poorly nourished are showing cognitive benefits as a result of the school feeding program in Ghana. Several studies have found that there has been a notable increase in the test results of students who are receiving food through the school feeding program.
The school feeding program in Ghana has also helped to boost the production of locally sourced food. Studies have found that local farmers who participate in the school feeding program are having more economic gains. This is attributed to more food being purchased from local farmers to fulfill the nutritional needs of school-aged children, which in turn in turn boosts the income farmers make in the long term, as they are producing more food in order to meet the continuous demand of the feeding programs.