School Feeding Caterers Urged To Improve Standards
Caterers of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) undergoing various forms of capacity building have been charged to put the new skills acquired to use.
According to the Acting National Coordinator of GSFP, Mrs Gertrude Quashigah, it was important for the caterers to be guided by the skills and ensure that nutritiously balanced meals are always prepared and served under hygienic condition to the school pupils.
Anything short of that, she indicated would attract stiff sanctions which include suspension, termination of contract or even jail terms.
Cooking of unwholesome food for public or human consumption is against the laws of Ghana and caterers are required to meet the standards of cooking prescribed by the Ghana Standards Authority.
The Acting National Coordinator emphasized that the training will be irrelevant if the caterers, cooks and nutrition officer fail to implement what they have learnt.
She expressed confidence in the caterers to live up to expectation and overturn the numerous negative media reports against GSFP on account of the poor quality meals prepared for school pupils by some of the caterers.
Mrs. Quashigah encouraged the caterers to always utilize the locally produced crops, vegetables and local spices for the preparation of food for the pupils especially soybeans to improve the nutritional value of the meals.
This she said will also put money in the pockets of the local farmers so that they can produce more.
The Director of Operations, Mrs Doris Utuka Gaba revealed that the next phase of the training will target Ashanti and Greater Accra regions.
The first phase of the training programme which is currently ongoing in the five regions of the north, Upper West, Upper East, North East, Northern and Savannah regions, Mrs. Gaba noted, is empowering a total of 5,711 caterers, head cooks and district nutrition officers.
The Northern Sector training which started on 10thJune 2019, she indicated, is expected to come to a close on 22ndJune 2019 in the Northern Regional capital, Tamale.
The Nutrition Officer for Ghana School Feeding Programme, Ms. Esther Gyinde took the caterers, cooks and nutrition officers through the GSFP handy measures which is supposed to guide their operations to ensure quality standards.
She also took the participants through the GSFP menu planner which is to ensure the pupils are provided with varieties of food in a timely manner with the required nutrient, quality and quantity.
Ms. Gyinde who together with the Acting National Coordinator, Mrs. Gertrude Quashigah and the Director of Operations, Mrs. Doris Gaba of GSFP and Ms. Soteria Ntim Adu, Product Director of YEDENT Agro Processing Company took the caterers and the cooks through practical cooking sessions, and how to use the Texturized Soy Protein (TSP) in food preparation.
Textured Soy Protein is a healthy high quality protein source that contains all essential amino acids needed for growth. This high quality protein comes without fat and has no cholesterol and little or no saturated fat.
Ms. Esther Gyinde also urged them to observe the basic hygiene practices by washing their hands with soap under running water before cooking, clean their kitchen or cooking environment thoroughly, wear the prescribed cooking attire and footwear, cut their fingernails, avoid exposing their hair and avoid wearing long earrings among others.
The Acting National Coordinator of GSFP, Mrs. Gertrude Quashigah will lead a strong team of national and regional monitors to monitor the activities of the caterers to ensure that they are actually practising what they have learnt from the training.
A team of officials from the School Feeding Programme's partner organisations, World Food Programme and Partnership for Child Development led by Madam Gyamila Abdul-Wahabi, Programme Policy Officer and Mrs. Gertrude Ananse Baiden also came to supervise the two weeks’ training programme.
Some caterers were being trained by the GSFP national secretariat under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection with funding from the World Food Programme (WFP).
The training is being facilitated by some officials from the Ghana School Feeding Programme national secretariat led by the Director of Operations, Mrs. Doris Gaba. Others include; Ms. Esther Gyinde and Ms. Jemima Ama Akresi, Nutrition Officers, Mr. Seth Offei and Mr. Swanzy Ezua officers in charge of Agriculture. The rest are; Mrs. Paulina Koranteng, Deputy Director in charge of Development Partners/Liaison and Mrs. Miriam Ninepense, Deputy Director in charge of Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr. Frederick Okyere and Mr. Kelvin Aboagye in charge of IT at the GSFP.