ActionAid Nigeria has trained members of the Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All, CSACEFA on monitoring the Home Grown School Feeding Programme in Lagos State with the aim of ensuring that the program fulfills its purposes and ultimately improve education in the state and Nigeria as a whole.
The three day training which was supported by the McArthur Foundation, engaged representatives from the Ministry of Education and Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board, LASUBEB as well as cohorts of ActionAid Nigeria who had monitored the HGSFP in Ogun State, for the purpose of learning exchange and experience sharing.
Kehinde Arowosegbe, Programme Coordinator, Promoting Accountability and Transparency in School Feeding program, ActionAid Nigeria, explained that the training for CSACEFA members in Lagos was necessitated by the need to build their capacities to be able to monitor the implementation of the school feeding project.
Arowosegbe clarified that the purpose was not to ‘witch-hunt’ or fault government’s program but to address all the shortfalls that the implementation might be faced with.
“We are not interested in what CSACEFA would monitor or whatever discrepancies they might notice during the monitoring, what we are interested in is that the government uses the report being generated by CSACEFA to improve HGSFP in the state,” he added.
He tasked CSACEFA to work in collaboration with the government and consistently provide the government with unbiased report to ensure the HGSFP achieves its purpose.
“I expect CSACEFA to produce an unbiased report because it is certain they will see a lot of sharp practices, they shouldn’t hide anything.
“On the part of the government, I expected that the government will give them that enabling environment to operate without a bias.
“I also expect to see that in the nearest future, the Lagos State Government is using the information provided by CSACEFA to improve the HGSFP in the state,” Arowosegbe added.
He expressed his optimism that all the relevant MDAs would provide the needed support for CSACEFA to carry out the monitoring exercise effectively.
On her part, the Lagos State Coordinator of CSACEFA, Ronke K. Eseka commended ActionAid Nigeria for the training which she described as “educative and an opportunity to learn and share real experiences from cohorts who have implemented similar projects.”
Eseka noted that the coalition is quite committed to the monitoring exercise because, “if the school feeding program is properly implemented, it will improve the cognitive ability of pupils and it would also work better for the state later in future.
“We will be working closely with the LASG to monitor the program in all schools across the state but we will start with some selected LGAs.”
The Chairman of the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board, LASUBEb, Hon. Wahab Alawiye-King ably represented by Hon. Bayo Adeuye, permanent board member in charge of Special project (HGSF, EKO EXCEL) said, “we welcome external monitoring of the program as it is transparent and we encourage the communities and SBMC to take ownership and monitor the programs.
“This will further enhance its continuous implementation and that the Federal Government would signal its continuation as it has been on hold since the COVID-19 pandemic started,” he added.