From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

The Federal Government has launched Value For Money (VFM) project aimed at achieving the objective of delivering nutritious meals to primary school children across the country.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on School Feeding, Yetunde Adeniji, made the disclosure in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday.

Adeniji further explained that the project will assess the impact recorded so far on the National Home-Grown School Feeding Program in Nigeria.

She also disclosed that the study is conducted in partnership with Imperial College London, United Kingdom, Harvard University, United States of America and the Partnership for Childs Development.

Noting that the VFM will help determine the effectiveness and efficiency of the program in delivering nutritious meals to school children across the country, she explained that the study would be carried out in selected states in the country.

While adding that the parameters for each state selection would be done in line with global best practices, she said the objective of the study would be forensically analysed by local and foreign experts led by the renowned Lesley Drake.

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She maintained that the effectiveness and impact of school feeding programs towards improving student attendance and academic performance, cost-effectiveness analysis of school feeding program in Nigeria thus far, compared the benefits of investing in school feeding versus other education interventions.

“It also entails the evaluation of the nutritional impact of school feeding program on Nigerian students’ health and well-being, assessment of the sustainability of school feeding program in Nigeria, including the long-term impact on students’ educational outcomes and nutritional status and exploration of innovative funding mechanisms for school feeding program in Nigeria, such as public-private partnerships or social impact bonds,” the statement read.

She further noted that; “the research would focus on the potential for scaling up school feeding programs to reach more Nigerian students in need, while maintaining quality and value for money, research on the role of school feeding programs in addressing broader development goals, such as poverty reduction, gender equality, and social inclusion, analysis of the policy environment for school feeding programs.”

Adeniji added that the collaboration is coming at the right time, as the Federal Government of Nigeria is restructuring School Feeding program in Nigeria.

He noted that the VFM study will be vital in enhancing the impact and sustainability of the school feeding programme through recommendations from economic, agricultural, social welfare and academic professionals.

She however expressed enthusiasm about the number of youth population in Nigeria who would be engaged as enumerators during the study, who would receive adequate training as well as financial benefits through receipt of weekly allowance for the period of the study.