The National Coordinator of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP), Mrs. Gertrude Quashigah, has strongly urged non-performing caterers to up their game or risk being kicked out.
It is incumbent on caterers, she said, to provide nutritious meals in the right quantity to pupils in schools they have been engaged with, and nothing short of this would be countenanced by her outfit.
Unhappy with reports of how some caterers have misconducted themselves, the uncompromising National Coordinator stated: “No caterer was forced to take up the feeding contract, therefore once you feel that you are unable to continue the work, get in touch with the GSFP authorities and tell us your challenges so that together we can find an amicable solution to them and in the end I believe, all parties will be satisfied with the solutions.”
Mrs. Quashigah was addressing a cross-section of teachers and caterers on Thursday, November 11 when she took her unannounced visits to schools in the Ada enclave of the Greater Accra Region.
“We can’t punish innocent children who are our responsibility after signing a contractual agreement with GSFP to pre-finance the cooking,” she stressed.
“Our duly engaged caterers have been given proper orientation and training, which they know very well that they have no chance to underperform.”
Mrs. Quashigah indicated that based on reports gathered countrywide, which some are still being investigated, some caterers may not be engaged as the new face of School Feeding swings into full action in 2022.
As an international nutrition expert, the National Coordinator said, she will stop at nothing to ensure that the over 3 million beneficiary pupils eat well on every school-going day in line with the responsibility as the National Coordinator.
She noted that her novel unannounced visit is to provide platform for her to dialogue and have regular open discussions with teachers and caterers on the field for the betterment of the Programme.
She also encouraged teachers to establish good rapport with caterers to ensure that guidelines and regulations of the feeding programme are adhered to.
The teachers who were elated by the frank conversation between them and Mrs. Quashigah and her team commended her for the initiative and called for more of such interactions.
They also wanted to know more about the responsibilities of teachers so they can effectively play their roles and report on the activities of caterers to influence decision at the school feeding secretariat.
It was observed by the teachers that like in many other schools in the rural areas, the School Feeding Programme is “positive” in the sense that many of the children report to school once they are assured that they would be fed.
Caterers, on the other hand, promised to respect rules and regulations governing the Programme, but prayed that government releases funds for the Programme on time, noting that delay in payment brings untold hardship to them and their dependents.