Weaker monitoring of School Feeding Programme affecting policy

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A research and policy think tank has observed that the policy objective number three of the Ghana School Feeding Policy drafted in November 2015 have been flouted with impunity by program’s Secretariat.

Centrist Policy International during a six-moth research which observations was published recently observed that the arrangements for monitoring and evaluation of the policy is weak whereas other mechanisms are not been followed.

Below is the full details of their findings: 

PRESS RELEASE

GHANA SCHOOL FEEDING PROGRAM FLOUTS POLICY OBJECTIVE NO.3 AMIST WEAKER MONITORING AND EVALUATION ARRANGEMENTS

  1. A six months research conducted by the Centrist Policy International (a research and policy think tank in Accra) reveals that some parts of the rationale, the vision and the policy objective number three of the Ghana School Feeding Policy drafted in November 2015 have been flouted with impunity by program’s Secretariat. Also, the arrangements for monitoring and evaluation of the policy is weak whereas other mechanisms are not been followed. A systematic random sampling in the entire ten regions of Ghana among the over twenty thousand School Feeding Caterers revealed.
  1. The third objective states ‘‘to foster local economic development through capacity support for local enterprises involved in food production, marketing and processing….’’
  1. One of the two rationales (pg17) continues’’ School feeding implemented as a joint initiative between the assembly and its departments, farmers’ organizations, caterers, input providers, local financial institutions and traditional authorities would encourage competitive use of local resources, create decent jobs and achieve sustainable economic activities’’
  1. Also, the vision of the policy states that ‘’ Rapid national socio-economic development achieved through a coordinated, integrated and accountable national school feeding program delivering improved nutrition for school children, reliable domestic markets for local farmers, effective local catering services and enhanced local incomes.’’
  1. Ghana government’s 13th commitment in the policy is to provide, among other things, Agricultural Policies such as:

o Medium Term Agricultural Sector Investment Plan (METASIP);

o National Agriculture Investment Plan (NAIP) providing for financing and capacity building for smallholders

o Rice Sector Support Program (RSSP)

o Livestock Improvement Program

  1. Monitoring and evaluation mechanisms of the policy requires that:
  • National Program Managers Shall collaborate with Regional Coordinators’ offices to track progress on sub-national activities and results collated into half-yearly (bi-annual) reports.
  • Each district shall organize an annual review meeting on achievement of key policy areas that fall within the purview of local authorities.
  • District reports shall be collated and presented in an annual regional learning event which shall involve school feeding staff, members of DSPCs, traditional authorities, the Regional School ETC
  1. OUR RESEARCH FINDINGS:
  • More than 75% of products such as poultry products are imported.
  • More than 60 of fishes are imported.
  • Over 90% of tomato paste is imported.
  • More than 70% of rice is imported.
  • More than50% of oil is imported.
  • These items form more than 61% of the total food consumed.

Monitoring and Evaluation mechanisms

  • Monitoring and evaluation mechanisms which requires National Programs Manager and the Regional Coordinator to track the success and failures of the policy through collated report which then form the bases for bi-annual report has been ignored with alacrity.
  • Not a one-third of the supposed 216 annual review meetings across the entire nation were held to track the performance of the policy.
  • The mandated annual regional learning events as proposed by the policy barely happens
  • Main reason for poor monitoring and evaluation is ;
  1. as a results of the usual Ghanaian attitude towards public sector.
  2. delays in release of funds for such duty.
  • GSFP is improving in terms of coverage.
  • GSFP is the leading pro poor school induced intervention in Africa.
  1. SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACT OF FLOUTING THESE PORTIONS OF THE POLICY ON THE WELLBEING OF GHANAIAN PEOPLE
  • Breach of trust which weakens development partners’ confidence for future commitment.
  • Disincentive to farmers and agricultural institutions leading to Increase unemployment.
  • A slap in the face of another viable agricultural policy (Planting-For-Food-and-Jobs-PFFJ).
  • A slap in the face of government commitment to achieve trade surplus.
  • Stress on the financial institutions as a results of farmers inability to pay loans.
  • Depreciation of Ghana cedi leading to undue pressure on the economy as a result of importation of food items.
  1. RECOMMENDATION
  • Purchase of locally produced consumables must be given a strict priority.
  • Caterers must produce documents of their local producers/suppliers which must form the basic requirement for entry.
  • Compliance of purchasing of local consumables must be a joint effort by GSFP/PFFJ taskforce.
  • MMDAs/Feeder roads must open up farming areas for easy access for agriculture produce.
  • Planting for Food and Jobs must work hand in hand with GSFP.

End

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