Race to End Child Hunger
Eko Electricity Distribution Company has teamed up with a non-profit to eliminate hunger among school children in West Africa, Nume Ekeghe writes
One recent morning, staff of Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) trooped into Anglican Girls Seminary Primary School located on Broad Street, Lagos Island. Led by its Managing Director, Adeoye Fadeyibi, the EKEDC team was joined by staff of Mary Dinah Foundation, head teachers of the Primary School, and Lagos State Education Board officials. The goal of the convergence was to flag-off a programme, ‘Food for Thought’, designed to feed the school pupils.
“We want to empower these kids more and make their lives a bit less stressful by providing them a meal while at school,” Fadeyibi said. “And the idea is for all the students in the school – about 110 of them – to get a balanced meal everyday.
“The idea is to adopt a school and then adopt another one. We want to make it sustainable, a year at a time. We want to do more.
“This is something that is bigger than the fund committed to it. We are looking to other people to copy this enviable thing. People do this on a personal level daily without all the publicity. So, the point is we are not doing something new; we are doing something we should be doing more of.”
“We spent a lot of time verifying this organisation and what they do. And the transparency for us is something that attracted us to this. The intent also was very clear and we were happy to partner”, he added.
Apart from feeding, the EKEDC partnership will also be giving the parents of the student a free medical checkup during the parent/teachers meeting, to help them know their health status and improve on it. “We don’t want these future leaders to lose any parent as they journey through education” Fadeyibi said.
Other activities lined up by organisers of the programme include: grooming of the school children, periodic etiquette talks, sports day events, charity football match to encourage participation in and growth of female football and lots more.
The first phase of the programme kicked off on July 17 and will run for a year.
Speaking to THISDAY, Chief Charity Officer at ‘Food for Thought’, Miss. Mary Dinah, was grateful to EKEDC for putting “their name, weight, money and time behind such an initiative”.
“We started the company and initiative two years,” she said. “About two weeks ago, we took on full-time the Anglican Girls Seminary School. We’ve been feeding schools in the past, but this is the first time we are taking on one school on a daily basis for the foreseeable future. Now we have committed completely to feeding them everyday forever.
“I was able to meet with the Head of the Education Council for Lagos Island. There were a lot of schools we considered. We liked this one because it’s an all-girls school, so in terms of women empowerment, girl empowerment, we thought it was important. The size of the school is about a hundred or so students. So we also thought it was a good size; the location is fantastic – it’s right here on Broad Street.
“I think it represents everything that we want to see in the future of children in Nigeria. A big location like this should not have children that are not having school lunches. So we thought we’d take a prime school in a prime location that needs the support and use it as our flagship.”
She said the long term plan is to expand the program to more schools since feeding children is a fundamental problem that needs to be addressed, urgently.