As part of measures to improve child care and development, Osun State Government has partnered the federal government to train food vendors and handlers of the Homegrown School Feeding Programme.
This, according to the government of Osun, is the first of the bi-annual routine training for stakeholders, ahead of the resumption of a new term.
The one-day workshop was held at the National Institute of Hospitality and Toursim, Osogbo, on Wednesday.
Speaking at the training, the Senior Special Assistant to the Osun Governor and Programme Coordinator of Homegrown School Feeding Programme (O’meals) in Osun, Hajia Fauziyat Folake Olaniyan, said the training was focused on homegrown school feeding programme guidelines, food procurement and preparation, optimal menu standardisation, safe processing, storage, hygiene and financial literacy for engaged cooks in the state.
She said the programme was designed to train the trainers, adding that food vendors and handlers that have been trained are expected to pass down the training to other engaged cooks in their various local governments.
According to her: “Firstly, let me thank the federal government and the state government for the tremendous efforts to sustain this laudable programme. We are here to train the vendors on hygiene and other issues that guarantee proper handling of the programme for the benefit of the children.
“The Governor of Osun State is concerned about the welfare of the citizenry, especially the children, and that is why we are here.
“Osun has grown to become the poster boy for homegrown school feeding programme in Nigeria. It has done the programme as it should over the years, and this has been acknowledged by the federal government. We have an excellent model that has made us distinct from other states, and we have a governor that is committed to the success of the initiative.
“For us, it is not just about feeding, but about the general wellbeing of the children. This explains why we do other things like de-worming, weight monitoring and even making the HGSFP guidelines available to parents to ensure nutritional consistency in catering for our children. I give kudos to my governor, who has shown unusual passion for this programme. His passion is what gives us the assurance of sustainability of the programme”, Olaniyan said.
In his own remark, the Deputy Director, Training and Staff Welfare at the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Akintunde Oyasanya, described the training as product of the government’s recognition of the role of proper nutrition to good health and brain development of school children.
Oyasanya harped on the impact of healthy meals on child education, adding that it was critical to the improvement of the psychological, social, emotional and physical wellbeing of pupils.
One of the facilitators and a hygiene lecturer with the National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism, Okunola Olumide, said the import of the training was to equip participants to carry out their duties with all sense of care and proper hygiene practices.
Funke Fashoro, a vendor from Oriade local government, in her remark lauded the administration of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola for his commitment to the homegrown school feeding programme, adding that the training was a necessity to improve their food handling processes.
“I am 100 percent assured that we will do better going forward because this training programme has been packaged to equip us for better service delivery. For this, we thank the governor of our dear state for giving us this opportunity”, Fashoro said.
Another vendor, Olatokun Olaide from Ife-North local government, described the training as proof of the government’s capacity enhancement policy.