• Set to establish sustainable food self-sufficiency model for Nigerian Schools
Africa’s leading children rights protection organisation, African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation (ACAEDF), a not-for-profit and non-governmental organisation proactively collaborates with the Embassy of Denmark in Nigeria for project School Farm for School Meal (SF4SM). Program SF4SM is designed to create a sustainable food self-sufficiency model across Nigerian schools. The maiden edition of the project implementation is on the 25th of April 2022 with four government schools in Akwa Ibom, with the purpose of providing 70% of the school’s feeding needs for the first six months of the schools academic session.
Project School Farm for School Meal (SF4SM) fully funded by the Embassy of Denmark in Nigeria under its SDG facility is being implemented and managed by ACAEDF, in Nigeria. Through the invaluable support of the Government of Akwa Ibom State, all the needed approvals and licensing needed to kick-start the program in the state was duly approved and provided. In 2021, according to the Global Hunger Index report, Nigeria ranks 103rd out of the 116 countries with sufficient data to calculate 2021 GHI scores, with a score of 28.3. This data depict that Nigeria has a level of hunger and food insufficiency that is considered serious with children and the vulnerable being the most affected. Food scarcity is detrimental to the growth and development of citizens and affects life expectancy amongst all age groups. In addition, between 2018 and 2020, six percent of children aged under five living in Africa had a too low weight for their height due to wasting. In Western Africa, this share was 6.9 percent, the highest in Africa. Wasting is a predictor of infant mortality. It is caused by a large food shortage, often accompanied by diseases.
In a pragmatic and proactive bid to respond to these emerging hunger challenges especially as it affects children of all age group in Nigeria, the Embassy of Denmark in Nigeria and ACAEDF through project SF4SM designed a sustainable project structure that does not just feed the children but equip them with basic farming skills for growing their own food. ACAEDF and the Danish Embassy of Nigeria arrived at this long-term intervention model based on information gathered from analysing locally and internationally generated data on similar projects.
Speaking on the transformative and growth driven nature of project SF4SM, the Founder and Executive Director of (ACAEDF), Mr. David Umem stated ” Project SF4SM is an invaluable program not just for students in Nigeria but also for parents and all stakeholders in a child’s life. Although our intervention started with government schools in Akwa Ibom, it is also pertinent to state that we hope to expand the project to other states in Nigeria. We are immensely grateful for the unquantifiable support of the Embassy of Denmark in Nigeria, they saw the vision with us and proactively supported the project. We also thank the Akwa Ibom State government for providing a conducive environment for the project; the State afforded and still affords us their support to ensure a seamless project implementation.
He went further to note “We would kick start by feeding 1,500 – 2,000 children daily for 65 days, this is approximately 97,500 meals prepared and distributed to the target children. Also, within the stated period of time, we would introduce aquaculture practice in primary schools and host knowledge transfer seminars targeting about 500 pupils within the select schools. The Training models would also include impactful skill training for 30 fish farmers in sustainable feed harnessing, 40 teachers in improved school gardening techniques, aquaculture practice using improved child participatory techniques and 30 school cooks trained on improving dietary diversity and innovation nutrition”.
Also commenting on the Embassy of Denmark in Nigeria’s commitment to the people, their growth and attainment of food self-sufficiency in Nigeria. Sector Counsellor on Food, Agriculture and Fisheries; Poul Jacob Erikstrup, stated “Pursuant to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Embassy of Denmark in Nigeria is thrilled to be part of the School Farm for School Meal (SF4SM) project in Nigeria. It goes to reiterate our commitment to Nigeria as a nation and to its people. The SF4SM project aims to address the pressing challenge of lack of access to food and proper nutrition amongst young children. We focused on schools as education through the existing schooling structure allows for learning opportunities for children and to also be able to have access to the children for our school feeding program. Looking at the model, it reflects a well thought through process that allows for project/ program sustainability in line with the Sustainable Development goals of attaining zero hunger globally by 2030. The Embassy of Denmark in Nigeria sponsored this project under our SDG Facility and we would continue to participate and monitor the execution to ensure that the Goal and objectives of the program is attained”.
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