Contribute food for students, parents urged

PARENTS and guardians have been encouraged to contribute food items, including maize flour and sugar for pupils and students attending primary and secondary schools to enable them to perform well in classes.

Kagera Regional Commissioner (RC), Ms Fatma Mwassa said meals in schools are very important, as a hungry student cannot properly follow what they are taught. She therefore, told parents to contribute food to improve academic performance and school attendance.

Urgent action is thus needed to control micro-nutrient deficiency, including fortifying school meals. People should not misquote the government’s intention contained in the Education Circular No 6/2015 which prohibits compulsory contributions by parents, saying the intention of the government is good, adding that food contributions should be made through relevant school committees.

Also, pupils of parents who fail to contribute for food due to various reasons, including poverty, should not be denied from getting maize flour porridge during school hours, she stressed.

Addressing stakeholders in Bukoba Municipal Council recently Ms Mwassa said the rate of stunting among children aged below five years was still   high at 34.3 per cent.

“Concerted efforts are still needed to ensure that hundreds of stunted children in Kagera Region are saved. A recent baseline survey indicated that almost 224,364 children aged below five years in Kagera Region were stunted,” she said.

Adding; “Urgent action was thus needed to control   micro-nutrient deficiency including fortifying school meals. Councils and all stakeholders should join hands to find a lasting solution.”

Ms Mwassa explained that Kagera region has conducive weather for the production of cash and food crops. The region had enough food varieties including bananas, beans and fisheries resources from Lake Victoria and 14 satellite lakes….food availability is not a problem. What is needed is to educate families on the best food varieties to eat on daily basis.

Minimum acceptable diet stood at 18.1 per cent compared to the national average of 30.3 per cent. The rate of continued breastfeeding at two years stood at 44.4 per cent while the national average was 43.3 per cent. The rate of exclusive breastfeeding stood at 85 per cent and meal frequency per day stood at 55 per cent.

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