A CASE STUDY OF SAVELUGUNANTON DISTRICT, GHANA, SCHOOL FEEDING PROGRAM AND ITS IMPACT ON EDUCATION AND POVERTY REDUCTION
1.1 THE STUDY'S BACKGROUND
The majority of developing countries are interested in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as a foundation for development planning due to the global focus on poverty reduction as a means of accelerating growth and maintaining development. The United Nations (UN) approved the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in September 2000, a set of eight time-bound goals with defined, numerical benchmarks to address significant global development concerns.
Among them were poverty and famine, as well as child education, gender equality, and women's empowerment. The major goal was to ensure that progress impacted everyone and everything. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have become critical in how governments and international development organizations carry out development initiatives, such as poverty reduction measures (Apusigah, 2005; Todaro & Smith, 2009).
MDG 1's target for eradicating extreme poverty and hunger is to a) halve the proportion of people with less than $1 per day between 1990 and 2015, b) achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people, and c) halve the proportion of people with dietary energy consumption below the minimum level between 1990 and 2015. The second goal, to achieve universal primary education, aims to reach all children, including boys and girls, by 2015 and enable them to complete a full course of primary schooling (UN, 2005).
In its “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (UNDHR), Article 26, the United Nations (UN) has declared education to be a fundamental human right and a requirement for the enjoyment of all other human rights since 1948. Nonetheless, millions of children and adults are denied educational opportunities, typically as a result of poverty (UNESCO, 1995). In order to achieve its education mission, the UN agency advocated for the abolition of school fees in member countries.
Globally, the poor face food insecurity, which leads to malnutrition. Early childhood malnutrition has been linked to lower intellectual potential and accomplishment in children. As a result of delayed mental development, adults may experience significant functional handicap. According to Jyoti, Frongillo, and Jones (2005), youngsters suffer the most in terms of social skills and competencies.
Many children around the world arrive at school with empty tummies, having participated in family labor before school. These children lack the energy to concentrate or participate fully in school, and they commonly drop out. According to UNICEF, this contributed to the estimated 115 million school-aged children globally who are not enrolled in primary school (2006). Despite significant progress since then, the number of primary-school-age children denied the right to an education remains high, at 68 million (UNESCO, 2010).
As a result, school feeding (SF) initiatives offer a possibility to reduce kid hunger. Parents who enroll their children and encourage them to continue in school receive additional benefits in the form of school food as an incentive. In just one year, this strategy has been shown to improve primary school attendance in the world's poorest communities (UNICEF, 2006).
A century ago, pupils were not considered a state obligation to feed. In 1946, the United States founded the National School Lunch Program. Many industrialized countries in Europe and Japan did this, resulting in major advances in the education of children from poor neighborhoods (Morris, 2003; Rutledge, 2009). According to Rutledge (2009), policy creation and dissemination indicate a developing global norm signaling a public obligation outside the family to feed schoolchildren.
Given that the bulk of the poor in developing countries live in rural regions and rely on agriculture for a living, school feeding is now viewed as a feasible synergistic entry point to improve educational performance while also kicking-starting local agricultural growth in Africa.
Africa is home to 49 percent of the world's 77 million unschooled children (Afoakwa & Chiwona-Karltun, 2007). According to Reuters (2009), over a million Ghanaian children do not attend school because they need to work to help their parents meet their financial obligations. Because of poverty, a considerable number of these children drop out of school (Niels-Hugo, 2006).
Every year, the Northern Region of Ghana experiences food scarcity for about five months (Quaye, 2008). Poverty is associated with historical, geographical, and cultural patterns of food production (Sutton, 1989; Songsore, 2003; Poel et al, 2007).
The Northern Region has a low yearly household per capita expenditure of GH303, 61 percent school attendance, a high proportion of the population aged 42.5 to 79.3 percent who have never attended school, and a 22.3 percent adult literacy rate (Ghana Statistical Service, 2008).
Various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the Northern Region have contributed to poverty reduction operations such as health services, technical and material assistance to farmers, food for work, and school meals over the years. In collaboration with its external partners, Christian Aid UK and Oxfam Canadian Cooperative Association, SEND-Ghana has made significant contributions to education, health, and poverty reduction (SEND-GHANA, 2008).
Ghana's educational development trajectory began in 1952, with the introduction of tuition-free primary and secondary school education. The Education act of 1961 made elementary education compulsory, making it a misdemeanor punishable by a fine for a parent to neglect to send a child to school. At the fundamental level, rising enrollments as a result of these programs remained until the mid-1970s (Oduro, 2000).
The Ghana Basic Education Sector Improvement Project (1996-2002) was funded by the “Free, Compulsory Basic Education Programme” (FCUBE), which was launched in 1996, with direct District Assembly cost sharing involvement (World Bank 2002). Capitation Grants, District Assemblies Common Fund, and the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFUND), which aspires to make education available to all Ghanaians, were also sources of funding (Oduro, 2000).
Despite the government's best efforts, low school achievement remains, especially in Ghana's impoverished rural communities. The Ghanaian government adopted the Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) concept in October 2005 as part of the African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) Pillar III of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPADComprehensives).
Ghana developed the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) under this agreement in an attempt to address low school success and poverty through community engagement. Every school day, students in kindergartens and elementary schools would receive one hot, substantial, and nutritious lunch made from locally grown ingredients (Afoakwa & Chiwona-Karltun, 2007).
1.2 THE PROBLEM'S STATEMENT
The pilot phase of the program (2006-2010) has finished. It is only reasonable to examine the program's impact at this time in order to address the problem of how the program is influencing the recipient communities.
To achieve the program objectives, the GSFP policy recommended that each child get a lunch made from goods obtained from the beneficiary community on each school day. The Savelugu-Nanton District is located in Ghana's Northern Region, where poverty has persisted as a result of the district's historical background, geographical location, and traditional farming techniques.
Allowing local participation in this effort through growing foods for school meals should have a significant impact on the community. A study in this area is required to generate empirical evidence that supports the link between this concept of school feeding and its projected outcomes, which include higher school attainment and poverty reduction. As a result, in order to influence the program's evaluation for sustainability, the genuine impact of the program in the Savelugu-Nanton District must be analyzed.
1.3 THE STUDY'S OBJECTIVE
The major goal of this research is to evaluate the impact of Ghana's school feeding program on poverty reduction and education.
Examine the efficacy of the GSFP implementation process.
2.Examine how the GSFP's implementation affects poverty reduction in the beneficiary district.
Make suggestions regarding how to improve the program.
1.4 QUESTIONS FOR RESEARCH
This study is guided by the following objectives:
How effective is the GSFP implementation process?
How has the GSFP's implementation benefited poverty reduction in beneficiary communities through food production and consumption?
What measures could be proposed to improve the program?
1.5 THE STUDY'S IMPORTANCE
The study's purpose was to investigate the impact of the GSFP on basic education and poverty reduction in Ghana's Northern Region's Savelugu-Nanton district.
Poverty has a long history in Ghana's Northern Region's Savelugu-Nanton district, which is compounded by its geographical location and people's cultural customs. Improving education through a program that encourages community engagement in poverty reduction must have a broader structural impact on society.
The findings of this study may provide empirical facts to policymakers and implementers to guide future policy creation for the sustainability and promotion of poverty reduction among Ghana's rural poor. The study may help community people decide whether the program is worth it or not, serve as a reference for future comparable studies in other districts, and contribute to the body of knowledge in the subject area.
1.6 STUDY OBJECTIVES
The study focused on the GSFP's implementation structures, from the top of the organization to the beneficiary population. Among those present were the national secretariat and donor institutions in Accra, the regional secretariat in Tamale, the District Implementation Committee, and the beneficiary communities.
All officials in charge of these institutions, as well as students from beneficiary schools and members of the surrounding community, were among the intended audience. The study spans the entire trial period of the school nutrition program, from the 2006/2007 academic year to the time of the study in April 2011.
Due to time and resource constraints, the Northern Region, one of Ghana's three poorest regions, was chosen as the research site, with the Savelugu-Nanton district serving as the focus center. The Savelugu-Nanton District was chosen because it is one of the region's rural poverty areas and comprises mostly rural cropping communities. Two of the district's schools have received GSFP since the trial period that this research was supposed to examine. The district's proximity to Tamale, the regional capital, was an added plus.
The study first focused on the procedures for carrying out the GSFP policy from the ministry where it was created to the operational levels in the beneficiary community. It then examined schooling statistics for evidence of the GSFP's influence on education. Finally, an evaluation of how the GSFP implementation has resulted in changes in poverty levels in the community was undertaken through the production and sale of commodities for the program.
The initiative benefited impoverished communities and schools with low learning metrics. Because each community had only one school, the program organizers employed a selection mechanism that linked the communities to schools. Beneficiary communities were developed in regions with beneficiary schools. The groupings are based on the independent variable; they are the beneficiary (‘schools with') and non-beneficial (‘schools without') schools. The latter category is known as control schools. The dependent variable is class attendance data, which is a continuous variable.
1.7 THE STUDY'S limitations
Because this study was limited to the Savelugu-Nanton District in Ghana, the findings are only applicable to this district. The researcher also encountered respondents' hesitation to offer specific information, which created a delay in the project's conclusion.
1.8 TERM DEFINITION
EDUCATION: the process of receiving or imparting systematic education, particularly in a school or university.
POVERTY REDUCTION: Poverty reduction, also known as poverty relief or poverty alleviation, is a collection of economic and humanitarian initiatives aimed at permanently lifting people out of poverty.
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