In what seems as a precautionary measure against food poisoning arising from poor hygiene, the FCT Administration has stepped up capacity building on proper sanitisation and food handling techniques for about 728 cooks engaged in the ongoing homegrown school feeding program in the FCT.

To this end, two cooks were selected to represent each of the six FCT Area Councils, to receive training on maintaining personal and environmental sanitation while the food meant for the targeted group of school children, and then go back to their respective councils to castigate the training down to others, in order to have an impact on the program.

This position was made known at a one-day nationwide documentation and training of cooks on the National Home Grown School Feeding Program, organized by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, in conjunction with the FCT Administration, anchored by Resource Consultant, Obinna Alexander Onyeocha, in Abuja.

According to the FCT Program manager of the School Feeding program, Kudu Dangana, the essence of the train was to ensure that the cook themselves and the food they are cooking are neatly organized, so that they don’t give dirty or poisonous food to the children in the schools.

Dangana noted that the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, in conjunction with the FCTA had come out with a policy that people engaged as cooks on the program must be trained on modern techniques of cooking as well as maintaining proper hygiene.

His words: “The School feeding program in 2018 started with a sensitisation program, and in 2019 cooks were selected from the six FCT Area councils. And every cook is expected to feed 150 learners.

“Why we are here today is mainly on sanitation; to train them on how to maintain the environment and ensure that themselves and the food they are cooking are neatly organized. So that they don’t give dirty or poisonous food to our children in the schools.

“The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, in conjunction with the FCTA has come out with a policy that these people must be trained, and because we can’t train them all at the same time, it was decided that let two cooks be selected from each area council, as representatives to receive the training, and then go back to their respective councils to castigate the training down. I believe it will make an impact on the program.

“We have trained almost 728 cooks in the FCT, and we are still trying to do more because the essence of school feeding is to achieve four objectives; to increase enrollment in schools, boost the nutritional value of pupils, increase agricultural productivity, and create job opportunities, especially those doing nothing in the villages.

“You can see that through this venture (school feeding program) a lot of people have been engaged as cooks- about 728, and more are still coming.”

On how many schools are benefiting from the scheme, the program manager said, “by statistics, we have 497 schools covered by the programme in FCT alone, but the record will be more than that by now.

“As at the time we were recruiting, some schools had not taken off, and then after recruitment, many schools came to be, that’s why we will continue to recruit more so that virtually every school will be captured in the program.

“And thank God, the FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, who is passionate about this, had ensured that everyone should be carried along and be fed in FCT, and she has approved memo to capture pupils of primary 4,5 and 6, to make sure that every school is captured. “

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