The Department of Basic Education’s (DBEs) National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) hosted the first Nutrition Forum under the theme: "Enhancing Quality and Efficiency in the NSNP" at the DBE from 01 to 02 March 2017. The aim of the Forum was to create a platform for key NSNP implementers at all levels (National, Provincial and District level) to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of the Programme.
01 March 2017 also marked the Africa Day of School Feeding as adopted by the African Union, launched in Niger during 2016, to recognise school meals as the world’s most widely-used safety net and the vital role it plays in education. The African Union (AU), in collaboration with the South African Government and the World Food Programme (WFP), joined the international community to celebrate the second Africa Day of School Feeding on the day.
Close to 170 participants from National, Provincial and District levels, as well as various stakeholders attended the Forum. Guest speakers from the Departments of Health (DoH); and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), the Dairy Standards of SA, the University of the Free State, the Tiger Brands Foundation, FUEL (Feed. Educate. Uplift. Love), a non-government organisation, and the DBE’s Grant Management Directorate shared key information that has direct impact on NSNP implementation.
While the overarching goal of the NSNP is to enhance learning capacity and access to education through the provision of a nutritious meal to targeted learners on all school days, the Forum was intended to strengthen the NSNP value chain covering such topics as food safety; impact of nutrition on child development; Norms and Standards; and monitoring practices that enhance the programme. Special attention was given to the Education Districts as key participants and “the engine of NSNP implementation” with a view to strengthen planning, monitoring and evaluation of all activities. NSNP officials from fifty seven (57) Districts were actively engaged in breakaway sessions to address various topics and share practical experiences and best practices to address shortcomings in the Programme.
Dr Granville Whittle, Deputy Director-General for Social Mobilisation and Support Services, indicated that the NSNP Forum reinforces the Department’s goal to provide support and to increase the capacity of Districts and Circuits towards educational outcomes. He officially announced the winners of the 2016/17 NSNP Best Schools Awards with Steenberg’s Cove Primary in Western Cape, as the overall winner. The school will receive a kitchen to the value of R450,000 generously donated by the Tiger Brands Foundation (TBF). In addition, the school will also receive a variety of cooked breakfast meals prepared with high quality products from the TBF for a period of three years. The second place winner was Bophelong Special School in the North West Province, whilst Makeneng Primary School in the Free State Province finished in third position. The winning Best District was Butterworth in the Eastern Cape Province.
The DBE is proud to have hosted a successful Nutrition Forum attended by representatives from all nine provinces; it was lauded as an excellent opportunity to share best practices and lessons learnt to ensure a coherent, effective and system-wide NSNP implementation.