The workshop came out with suggestions and contributions from stakeholders of the Programme for the formulation of a new policy for the development of the programme.
Nii Djamba Vanderpuje, Deputy Regional Minister said the programme introduced in 2005 to satisfy the basic nutritional needs of pupils in public schools, has achieved great success.
He noted that the programme is also faced with numerous challenges hence the need for reforms to achieve its intended purpose.
Improving food security in deprived areas and reducing hunger and poverty in the deprived rural communities were some of the aims of the programme.
Alhaji Baba Jamal, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development said the formulation of a National School Feeding Policy is very important since it would give the programme a solid grounding principle as to how it should operate.
He said the policy would also provide the programme with a working document as well as legal backing to ensure that it stands firmly and achieves the desired success.
Mrs Victoria Kumah-Mintah, Deputy National Coordinator, GSFP said the programme was designed to provide children in some public primary schools with one hot nutritious meal, prepared from locally grown foodstuff, on every school going day.
She said currently about 1,642,271 pupils and 4952 schools nationwide are benefiting from the programme.
Mrs Kumah-Mintah said the programme has gone through some challenges such as lack of management and accountability, inadequate information sharing between different levels of government, and the deviation from targeting the marginalised in the society.
She noted that since 2009, a number of reform measures were taken, such as the establishment of a Social Accountability project, re-targeting, expansion, evaluation and initiation of a legal and policy framework.
úThe workshop is to develop a national policy process which involves citizens, intended beneficiaries and stakeholders with a common purpose of validating findings and proposal for the way forward and to consider any additional information that previous events may not have captured and to instil public support and enthusiasm in the process,Ě she noted.
Mrs Kumah-Mintah, said the policy would seek to provide clarity and consistency of approach, rational and intent of the programme.
She said the policy would set standards, clarify the role of the programme and provide a benchmark for quality design and implementation.
úThe policy would provide the guidelines for the programme to strategise for sustainability, aligning with national policy framework, stabilise funding and budgeting, cost effectiveness, quality programme design, strong institutional arrangement, effective collaboration among actors, effective monitoring and evaluation, accountability systems and information sharing, local production and sourcing, strong partnership and inter-sectoral coordination and strong community participation and ownership.Ě
Dr Esther Ofei-Aboagye, Director, Institute of Local Government Studies, said the four major pillars on which the GSFP was built were nutritional development, to provide employment, to benefit all public basic schools and provide a market place for local producers.
She said two major problems that have bedevilled the programme over the years are clarified monitory and evaluation as well as strong communication strategy to ensure standardisation and exclusivity of the programme.
Dr Ofei-Aboagye said investment in human development in a coordinated manner, caterer as content model as the mode of delivery, provision of public finance, institutional development and mainstreaming of existing public administration system, are some strategic areas that needs to be considered to enhance the success of the programme.
She added that joint monitoring evaluation, promoting local content and local benefit, strengthening farmer organisation involvement, ongoing education and capacity building at all levels, strengthening stakeholder involvement at the community level and image building are also very important for the success of the programme.