The Women’s Action for Development-initiated programme dishing out free meals to more than 4 000 school learners in Ohangwena region has been praised by parents, learners’ guardians at this time of the pandemic.
Most of the parents that New Era spoke to from Okongo and Ondobe constituencies were very appreciative saying the programme has kept school children busy since the lockdown period came into force.
WAD has provided 53 centres with nutritious meals comprising of rice, macaroni, porridge, soup, potatoes, vegetables and fat cakes.
The programme is mainly for 25 grade 1 pupils and pre-primary classes at public schools and 53 Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDs) in the two circuits.
Parents volunteered to cook for the beneficiary learners and they collected food for the children to mitigate mass gatherings at schools as a precaution.
Each feeding centre established a local committee to coordinate various activities such as the registration of children, cooking and enforcing Covid-19 regulations, which include the provision of soap, gloves and masks.
Magname Shapopi from Ekoka village in Okongo constituency expressed appreciation and wished WAD well saying it should continue with the feeding programme in order to motivate the learners.
The headteacher of Kornelius Combined School, Silas Nande, said the feeding programme reminded learners about the importance of school.
“This initiative will encourage children to go to school and it will also motivate parents to spearhead the responsibilities for their children at schools,” said Nande.
Nande feels the initiative will prevent learners from dropping out of school.
Hendrina Mutota, a representative of the San community in Olukula village in Okongo said the initiative brought happiness to the community. “You can see how our children look like. They are happy and they gained so much weight. I feel pity for them when the programme ends,” she said.
When New Era arrived at Olukula feeding centre, 86 San children were observed happy and playing outside the centre after they finished eating.
WAD with the financial support from Roger Federer Foundation has established 53 feeding centres for Okongo and Ondobe constituencies in Ohangwena.
WAD executive director Salatiel Shinedima said the initiative aims to complement government efforts to mitigate the social-economic impact of Covid-19.
The feeding programme that started on 4 May is expected to end on Friday.
Shinedima said the programme targeted 1 500 children though they have registered 4 242 children between the ages of three and seven, including children that came for holidays in those targeted constituencies.
The amount used in the programme is about N$1.1 million.