Programme Director, Mr Macfarlane Moleli
MEC for Education, Honourable Thembi Nwendamutswu
Acting Head of Education Department, Mr KM Mashaba
The Limpopo Administrator, Mr M Matthews
Chief Executive Officer of Tiger Brands, Mr Peter Matlare
Chairperson of Tiger Brands Foundation, Dr Miriam Altman
Trustees of the Tiger Brands Foundation
SGB Chairperson and members present
Educators, Parents and Learners
Ladies and Gentlemen
It gives me great pleasure to be here today as we celebrate a great partnership between our Department and Tiger Brands. Today marks the Tiger Brands 20 Millionth Breakfast Celebrations. This is indeed no small feat. We are more than just grateful but highly indebted to the men and women who conceptualised, planned and launched this programme. We also thank those who on daily basis manage it, thus ensuring its continued success. We could not have done it alone as Government.
Since the dawn of democracy, we have been grappling with how to support learners whose learning capacity was at high risk. High risk factors included, among others, low levels of micronutrients, fatigue as a result of walking long distances between home & school and associated circumstances. Some learners skipped breakfast, either by choice or because there’s nobody at home to prepare the meals for them. In worse cases, the breakfast meal is skipped simply because there’s nothing to eat. This then led to the introduction of the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) which was conceptualised by the visionary and founding President of the new South Africa uTata Nelson Mandela.
Through the launch of the National School Nutrition Programme, we successfully addressed hunger by incrementally improving the school feeding programme: We started with a nutrient-loaded biscuit, then later bread, now a hot nutritious cooked meal daily. We then expanded our reach from Q1 primary schools to now Q1, 2 and 3 primary and secondary schools. We can safely say that the National School Nutrition Programme covers just about 9 million learners in 20 927 Quintile 1, 2 and 3 primary and secondary schools across the country. This accounts for 87% of all public ordinary schools as per the School Realities Report published in 2013. The challenge we are facing now is to improve and maintain the quality of meals served to the learners and the dignity with which the meals are prepared and served.
I’m delighted to be here to celebrate the 20 Millionth breakfast and officially handover the kitchens in partnership with the Tiger Brands Foundation. I was privileged to be part of the event that marked the 1 millionth, and subsequently the 10 millionth breakfast meals.
Today, our partnership with the Foundation achieves a milestone of the 20 millionth breakfast meal. It calls for more than a celebration, particularly because the partnership we enjoy with Tiger Brands Foundation covers more than just the breakfast meals to include school kitchens, eating utensils and cooking equipment.
I have also come to learn more recently, that the Foundation supplements the Volunteer Food Handlers’ stipend in all the schools implementing the Breakfast Programme. I am truly excited about more achievements that could potentially stem out of this partnership.
In 2010, we hosted a Breakfast with the Business Sector in Johannesburg to highlight the importance of partnerships between government and the private sector towards improving education. So we encouraged Business to identify areas of support amongst what we had indicated as key priority areas. Tiger Brands, and its Foundation, selected the National School Nutrition Programme as an area of cooperation and collaboration. The increased participation in basic education by the private sector is in line with the call made by the President Mr Jacob Zuma that: “…we should make education a societal issue.”
Over the years we have observed that school feeding leads to increased enrolment, increased participation in class, as well as reduced absenteeism. When undertaking monitoring of the School Nutrition Programme in provinces, schools report positive change since the introduction of the programme.
Through the partnership with Tiger Brands, the School Nutrition Programme is gradually introducing breakfast to selected schools since March 2011. The TBF in-school breakfast pilot programme was initiated in six schools in Alexander, Gauteng in July 2011 and expanded to six more provinces namely Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West (Tebogo Primary -The Best NSNP school in 2013) and Western Cape progressively over the years. Today the programme covers 62 schools in 7 provinces at the cost of R56 million since 2011.
Today, we are celebrating the 20 Millionth Breakfast. The Tiger-Brands-Foundation-funded programme has touched more than 39 373 young lives in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape. The collaboration between the DBE and the Tiger Brands Foundation showcases a successful model of public-private partnerships.
The celebration of the 20 Millionth Breakfasts coincides with the country’s 20 years celebration of democracy, peace and prosperity.
The Foundation also plays a role in community development by engaging small enterprises in delivering food to schools.
The TBF further commissioned a research study between July 2011-June 2012, led by the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Centre for Social Development in Africa, to evaluate the impact of the breakfast programme on learner well-being and school performance. The findings indicated that there is a strong correlation between a good breakfast meal and children’s ability to learn. The study showed an improved concentration levels and participation in classroom activities by a cohort of learners participating in the programme.
To ensure effective monitoring of the breakfast programme and the NSNP in participating schools, the Foundation has further provided a cell-phone technology system, called Mobenzi, which gives real-time information to monitor the programme and respond to any challenges highlighted.
A pre-determined questionnaire is loaded on the phone and completed daily by monitors or the school principals. The Mobenzi system is linked to the internet and the reports are therefore instantly available and challenges can immediately be addressed. Eighteen out-of-school youth are contracted as monitors and receive a stipend of R1250 for this function.
The Department acknowledges the value of this collaboration with the Foundation. This is one of the most significant Public-Private Partnerships within the Department aimed at improving learner well-being thus meeting the goals of Action Plan Towards Schooling 2025. As we advocate for the transfer of funds to schools, we hope that schools will be able to budget for and make use of savings to innovate towards initiating their individual breakfast programmes. This can be one way of sustaining the breakfast programme. We have the advantage to use the lessons learnt from the Foundation’s Breakfast programme to craft the implementation framework for our schools.
I wish to acknowledge the sterling efforts made by the Tiger Brands Foundation to make this partnership work. We congratulate the Foundation for reaching the 20 millionth milestone and look forward to being part of more achievements to come.
I wish to acknowledge the contribution and commitment of the Provincial Departments, Districts and school communities, because without them the Department would not be able to meet its mandate. We also work very closely with other Government Departments such as Department of Public Works, which provides school monitors for school feeding through the Expanded Public Works Programme. Maokeng, Dagbreek and Modimolle Primary Schools are some of the schools that are benefitting from this initiative.
I wish to thank the principals and teachers present here today, for their hard work and dedication in improving learner performance. My gratitude goes to the cookers and parents who dedicate their time and carry the heavy responsibility of preparing the best meals for learners daily. Rising so early in the morning, particularly in the winter season, to prepare meals for the learners cannot be an easy task. So thank you very much for investing your time to these little minds. To all learners, good luck for your upcoming end of the year examinations. I will be on the lookout for the best results. Do us proud!
Programme Director, I now officially hand over the state-of-the-art kitchens donated by Tiger Brands Foundation for use in the National School Nutrition Programme.
I thank you.