Nigeria to add 6M students to biometric database for school meal program

Nigeria to add 6M students to biometric database for school meal program

Nigeria’s federal government says it is embarking on a nationwide biometric data capture process in order to scale up the number of beneficiaries for the National Social Home Grown School Feeding Program (NHGSFP), writes The Guardian.

The NHGSFP is a government-funded program which ensures that at least a meal is served pupils of Classes One to Three in government-run primary schools every school day.

Setting off the biometric enumeration process recently in the Kogi State capital Lokoja, Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Minister Sadiya Farouq said the objective is to increase the number of beneficiaries from the current nine million to 15 million in the next two years.

The exercise will also see the updating of data which has been collected for the program since it started in 2016, the report adds.

Patience Achor, deputy director in the Ministry who represented the Humanitarian Affairs Minister at the launching ceremony, said the biometric enumeration will not only increase the numbers, but will go a long way in ensuring transparency, accountability and effectiveness of the program which has already provided employment for thousands of Nigerians.

“More than nine million pupils benefit from one free nutritious meal a day during school terms nationwide and now, we have the mandate to reach an additional five million pupils by 2023. With over 100,000 cooks employed and more than 100,000 small-holder farmers participating in the value chain, NHGSFP is a serious potential for socio-economic development and it needs to be strengthened, scaled up and sustained nationwide,” The Guardian quoted Achor as saying.

She also called on State government officials to collaborate with the federal Ministry for the success of the biometric enumeration process.

The Secretary to the Kogi State Governor, Folasade Ayaode, who also spoke at the ceremony, pledged the State government’s support for the exercise. She praised the federal government for the initiative and expressed the wish to see the subsidized food scheme extended to other classes across the elementary school program.

Nigeria has previously introduced programs using biometrics to improve trustworthiness and efficiency among university staff and students writing entrance exams.

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