An intervention project has been launched by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) in collaboration with Japanese experts.

The project aims to utilize Japan’s expertise in school lunches to safeguard vulnerable children against worsening food insecurity crises.

School meals intervention is a multi-sectoral approach that plays an important role in long-term human capital formation by improving young children’s nutrition conditions and learning performance.

“The purpose of the inception meeting is to inform all appropriate stakeholders and call for assistance and involvement.” Dr. Gloria Folson- a senior research fellow at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for medical research stated.

In many developing countries, however, sustainable school meal systems have been challenging to run for various reasons including a lack of suitable food, appropriate school facilities, and certified dieticians, which is a serious problem when people live under the current threat of food insecurity and food price spikes.

In collaboration with Japanese experts working on school lunches from the University of Niigata Prefecture and the Japan Society of Nutrition and Dietetics together with local Ghanaian expertise, the Ghana School Feeding Program, and key stakeholders, we plan to introduce a sustainable school meals intervention aiming to support and improve the Ghana School Feeding Program by redesigning menus and strengthening linkages to local agriculture based on Japan’s experience in the school lunch program.

Professor Noboku Murayam stated that Japanese school lunches are integrated with nutrition and education thus Ghana would benefit from employing the style of Japan by melding nutrition with education as well.

Dr Futoshi Yamauchi announced in his presentation that the school meal intervention is a pilot intervention so the scale is relatively small. A number of forty schools are initially to be used as an intervention, out of which twenty will be chosen to receive financial intervention for nutrition.

Intervention schools will be helped through thorough education and training data collection would be taken at both intervention and control schools.
At the feedback and discussion session, stakeholders were made aware that the lunch meals would constitute locally based foods in Ghana to encourage the purchase of home-grown produce in bettering local production. Key stakeholders are also encouraged to do their very best to help sustain the school feeding program.

The inception meeting was graced with prominent people, among them are the Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and social protection – Honorable Francisca Oteng Gyasi, Director of Noguchi Memorial Institute for medical research- Professor Dorothy Yeboah, the Head of the department for Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical- Dr Benjamin Abuaku, the Ibrahim-emissary from the Japan embassy Mrs. Doris Utaka- a representative from Ghana School feeding program


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