06-08-2022. TALK #6: Schools and parents working together to improve the feeding of children while at school
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RADIO TALKSHOW #6, 6th-08-2022
MODERATOR: NAKIRYA BRENDA DOREEN
CHAIRMAN LC I KAYOGELA VILLAGE: MWONDA JESSE
HEAD TEACHER SAGITU ISLAND P/S MAYUGE: NGOBI JAMES
MODERATOR: We hold the knowledge in ensuring our children receive the best education like the opening credit has just said, our dear listeners, I want to welcome you to today’s show on 6th/August/2022, we are Elevate, the partners of education who ensure that we be with you every two weeks after a Saturday, I am Nakiirya Brenda Doreen who works with Community Concern Uganda Initiative plus Elevate partners of education who financially enable us to have the talk show, I want to thank Luuka, Kaliro, Mayuge and Iganga districts that have this program, I am not alone in the studio today but have some friends of mine who will introduce themselves to you in a short while, they are two of them, I want to remind you that Elevate partners of education works towards boosting the education of our children using means and measures known to us. Today we shall talk about how schools and parents are working together that children feed or eat at school, let me let my guests in the studio introduce themselves to you; I will start with the gentleman on my left.
MWONDA JESSE: Um, madam moderator, I want to thank Elevate, partners of education for financially sponsoring the education of our children and also enabling me get a chance to be a guest in the Busoga One (omwooyo gwa Busoga) studio, I am Mwonda Jesse from Bugiri district Mutere Sub-County and Kayogela village, my children study at Bululu P/S, Mr. Okurut Julius is the head teacher of that school, I am the chairman LC I of that particular village (Kayogera) and it’s really an honour for me to be part of today’s show.
MODERATOR: We welcome you Mr. Mwonda Jesse to the show, we are happy that you’re not only a parents but a local leader as well, thank you for coming. Let me let the gentleman on my right also introduce himself.
NGOBI JAMES: Thank you madam Brenda for having me as a guest in the studio as well, to talk about today’s theme (children feeding at school), thanks also go to Elevate, the partners of education that has enabled us be here today, I am Ngobi James, head teacher Sagitu Island P/S in Mayuge district.
MODERATOR: Thank you Mr. Ngobi James, head teacher of that school located at the island called Sagitu, let me remind our listeners that the previous show on Saturday 23rd/07/2022 was hosted by Mr. Balondemu Simon who had 2 guests, Madam Talenga Robinah chairperson SMC at Namukooge P/S Kaliro district, and Mr. Lwawayo Musulo Paul, chairman PTA Lambala P/S Luuka district. They talked about how these committees had helped to continuously boost the education of children at school since they were re-opened; they discussed and shared a lot of information about the subject matter, let me remind you about some of them before we disintegrate today’s theme, for example, the roles and objectives of the above committees, that the PTA works towards uniting teachers and parents and motivating the teachers whereas the SMC is responsible for the general running and monitoring of the school, lobbying some extra funds from Non-government organizations to ensure the smooth running of the school because however much the government provides money, it’s usually not enough, they encouraged parents to continuously provide scholastic materials, money, maize or flour to enable their children feed at school and requirements when called upon by the schools, all for the smooth running and education of their children.
So today’s theme is how different parties are ensuring children feed at school, we have been continuously working with Elevate, partners of education to boost the education of children at school, the children Act of 2008 states that the responsibility of feeding children is for parents and guardians and basing on our investigation, and through the work we do in schools, we discovered that children feeding at school in most government schools is still a very big challenge, most children study on empty stomachs as some only eat porridge, others solid food while others neither eat porridge nor eat solid food because some parents completely fail to contribute the necessary requirements for their children to feed, so our dear listeners, sharpen your ears and listen in carefully for the time our lines will be open in order for you to call in and interact with us in the studio.
At this juncture, let me get back to my guests, let me start with Mr. Ngobi James, what & how is the situation on ground at Sagitu island P/S school when it comes to the proper feeding of children at school?
MR.NGOBI JAMES: Thank you madam for that wonderful question, let me first state that feeding is crucial to everybody’s survival in general, because some people wake up in the morning, take tea, go to the garden, eat some jackfruit when they leave the garden, take tea again, and others, but back to the topic of the day, ideally, proper feeding of children at school entails having breakfast of porridge at 10:00am and solid food for lunch at 1:00pm, that is the proper or ideal way children are supposed to feed at school which is twice. But because of insufficient funds, the way children feed in most schools is by eating porridge and at Sagitu P/S where I am head teacher, children eat porridge from P.1-P.2 at 10:00am because they study half day and those from P.3-P.7 who study full day eat porridge at 1:00pm daily, which means children eat once in a day at my school.
MODERATOR: Which means that the children, who study full day, don’t eat porridge at 10:00am which is break time but have to wait for lunch time at 1:00pm.
MR.NGOBI JAMES: Yes, they have to wait and eat their porridge at 1:00pm during lunch time.
MODERATOR: So do you think these children can study properly when they are not being fed ideally or the proper way because you said it’s twice a day but then they feed only once at your school?
MR.NGOBI JAMES: Anyone who uses the brain needs to eat properly; we usually go to mark external examinations, even teachers have to eat properly despite the fact they just sit in one place and use their brains in order to mark very well, but a child who is in a classroom from morning to evening being taught yet he/she only takes porridge once is not enough but, it’s atleast better than nothing as compared to where children don’t eat at all, this little porridge can keep them active in class, prevent absenteeism and escape because some children resort to the latter and former as a means to curb hunger at school, so the porridge keeps them fairly satisfied and gives them hope to attend school every day.
Another issue is that some children end up dropping out completely or change schools since some leave far from the school, even if they decide to go home for something to eat at lunch time, the long distance demoralizes them because just imagine it takes a child 40 minutes to home and 40 minutes back to school yet lunch time is just an hour i.e. from 1:00pm-2:00pm, so if he/she decides to go home for lunch, that child will obviously be late and will have missed out because during that time when he/she was not around, the others would have studied, so this little porridge keeps him/her at school.
MODERATOR: So these other children who study full day only eat the porridge once in the day at 1:00pm, doesn’t it really affect them, we want to really know?
MR.NGOBI JAMES: Of course it affects them but we assume that after sometime their system gets used to the routine of eating the porridge at 1:00pm and they can be patient from 2:00pm to the time of going back home. Better than these P.1-P.2 children who cannot withstand or be patient for that long.
MODERATOR: please make us understand how you are feeding the children at your school?
MR.NGOBI JAMES: Okay like I said in the beginning, the children eat porridge, in the morning at 10:00am and at 1:00pm in the afternoon.
MODERATOR: Give us the experience.
MR.NGOBI JAMES: The experience we go through is that some parents pay and some don’t want to pay, now the fact that we are located on an island which even lacks fertile soil, people don’t grow crops but use money, so others can afford to pay the money for their children to eat at school and pay it in the required time, whereas others pay late and after us sending their children home as defaulters, now others fail to pay completely, but we sympathize with them and some actually come and asks us to be patient with them which we do, we just keep on reminding them constantly until they bring eventually, but there are those cases where a parent’s child doesn’t eat at school and the parents deliberately fails to come and talk to us. Some parents don’t have money completely and theses tend to have more than one child, for example one may have like 6 children where by some are in secondary school, these parents tend to ignore the ones in primary and focus so much on those in secondary school. So madam that’s the experience we have or face.
MODERATOR: Why do some parents fail to pay or contribute money or maize for feeding at school?
MR.NGOBI JAMES: Some parents fail to pay because they choose to give their children pocket money like 1000/= or 500/= every day for buying eatables instead of contributing for the porridge, some others deliberately refuse yet they are financial status doesn’t prevent them from contributing that money and say their children will be eating at home after classes in the evening, so despite us talking to all parents in the meetings, some choose their own way of doing things.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much Mr. Ngobi James, now let me turn my attention to Mr. Mwonda Jessie, please share with us how & what you think the proper way of feeding children at school is?
- MWONDA JESSE: Madam Brenda, I would think that the proper feeding of children at school is that a child eats body building foods at the ideal or the right time that enable the mind to be free and enable the child understand whatever the teacher is teaching in class.
MODERATOR: What is the ideal or right time and what food is that that builds the body, throw some more light there?
MR.MWONDA JESSE: At school, there is a particular time that children are allowed to be free and to relax (break time), as you know we parents at home tend to occupy ourselves with chores such as going to the garden where we set our own time of leaving the garden for example, you could decide to go very early in the morning and decide to retire from the garden at 10:00am, when you reach home, you may find some fruits for example jackfruit, paw paws, mangoes, etc. that you can feast on as you rest, so even the child at school may want to eat some porridge in that time when he/she is resting after the morning classes, that porridge will help the child’s body to recharge or rejuvenate itself which can enable the child go back to class at 11:00am after break and understand the subject matter or content from the lesson being taught, when it reaches lunchtime which is at 1:00pm, the child needs to eat solid food, some parents are trying to be so calculative and economic but sometimes their calculations tend to be wrong because they assume the maize that they bring to school for meals is too much, but they forget that even when the child is at home, he/she has to eat so they decide to only provide the little that can only enable their child to eat only porridge at 10:00am for the pupils from P.1-P.3 and 1:00pm for the pupils from P.4-P.7 but not solid food which is a disservice to the children.
So the status quo leads to poor results by the children at the end of the term and that’s why some parents from the villages are opting for schools in towns or urban areas because the parent is given a bill of like 500,000/= a term, and on that figure, the parent is assured that his/her child will eat proper food and as breakfast, lunch and super every day, so you find the child very comfortable which plays as a factor for the good performance, that’s why statistics show that children in urban schools perform better than those in rural areas, so my advice is that parents should ensure their children eat the proper/required food and at the right time at school for better results because “knowledge is like fire, you can pick some from your neighbor”
MODERATOR: Now you as Mr. Mwonda, what have you done as a parent to ensure that you children feed at school?
MR.MWONDA JESSE: I first study the school’s policy of feeding before taking my child to a particular school because as a parent you can’t singlehandedly dictate the policies you want in a particular school, I may want my children to eat solid food like posho yet the school only gives out porridge, so the school where my children study is Bululu P/S headed by Mr. Okurut Julius has some parents who are able, willing and ensure their children eat both porridge and solid food (posho and beans).
MODERATOR: So what brings or causes that situation where some parents comply and others don’t comply, some choose to give their children 500/= every day because they claim contribution money is a lot instead of paying money for eating at school like Mr. Ngobi has just said?
MR.MWONDA JESSE: What the head teacher has said is true, some parents don’t want to pay because they claim it’s a lot of money or maize which is usually 5 kilograms and choose to give their children 500/= every day instead, the logic my seem as if the parent is saving but in actual sense they aren’t because you add this 500/= every day in a term as compared to the 5 kilograms. We all know that education is a child’s right and siring children is a chance which happens in a one night, so parents tend to give birth to many children and when they take them to school and add up the total budget that is required for every child like 10,000/= per child to access the porridge at school, the amount is overwhelming because if he/she has round 6 children, that would mean 60,000/=, he/she starts bargaining for some money to be reduced on his/her bill yet that amount is exact or may even be less per child to enable them feed the whole term, and you may find that that particular parent is only able to facilitate like 2 of the children out of 6 so it becomes a burden to the parents because at the end of day, paying for a smaller number may create divisions among the children so he/she decides not to pay for all of them.
MODERATOR: So that particular problem is about the children being many.
MR.MWODA JESSE: It is because most parents are carrying very self-inflicted heavy loads on their shoulders.
MODERATOR: Okay that’s for those with very many children, but why are those with a few children usually reluctant when it comes to contributing that money?
MR.MWONDA JESSE: We find ourselves where some people occupy acres of land while others only occupy small plots of land, those who occupy the acres have enough space to carry out agriculture and those with just plots of land don’t have enough space to carry out agriculture, which leads to scarcity of food for those without ample space to cultivate crops so it becomes hard for them to take the little maize that has been acquired to school yet there is nothing to eat at home. Some parents are employed as casual or daily basis workers who work with the expectations of being paid on a daily basis, yet some employers are not fluid when it comes to payment of workers and skip some days of payment, which makes it hard to contribute that money hence decline in children’s performance.
MODERATOR: So what measures can we the parents and teachers undertake to ensure the children feed to avoid decline in their performance?
- MWONDA JESSE: We can work together as parents and the school by reinstating the measures we were using back then because during our time as pupils at school, we had the school gardens, which helped because the children would consume what came from those gardens at school but now days, teachers use the school land for their own personal gardens, so I would wish for that system to end so that we use the school land for school gardens where possible, the school can ask the parents for seeds like maize, beans, etc. where each child is asked for an ear of corn for planting and whatever is harvested like 5 – 10 sacks can be processed and cooked for the children at school.
MODERATOR: At the moment in this term, we all see that there is scarcity of money, what can the parents do to ensure the children feed at school?
MR.MWONDA JESSE: In the current situation that comprises of scarcity of money, people had not saved some money and others, which was caused as a result of the covid 19 lockdown, almost everyone is suffering and due to the fact when teachers had just started rejuvenating the children who had just come back from the lockdown is when the teachers are carrying out the industrial strike, schools are soon closing for the second term holidays, several parents claimed they had just taken their maize to school just before the lockdown because the term had just started and now schools had just been re-opened after the lockdown, and schools are asking for maize or contributions for eating at school again, so some parents basing on that complaint are deliberately refusing or failing to contribute the maize or money.
MODERATOR: So from the perspective of a parent that you, yourself are, what is the way forward to that hindrance?
MR.MWONDA JESSE: All we can do despite the unfavourable economic climate is to take on and accept our responsibility of taking maize to school in order for them to access food and porridge so that our children break off for holidays with good results.
MODERATOR: Okay, thank you Mr. Mwonda Jesse for those very educative remarks but it looks like Mr. Ngobi wants to add on what you have just said so let’s give him a chance.
- NGOBI JAMES: I want to add on the point of contributions of the parents. Parents are not contributing maize or money to enable their children feed at school because of the unfavourable economic climate but if you called them for the first meeting and told them, it would be better if you call for another meeting and remind them again if they have not positively reacted. At my school (Sagitu Island P/S), the island is different because people can easily come together in small camps or groups, so in those groups, there are public address systems, we just talk to the owners of the public address systems and ask them to help us remind our dear parents, to clear the school dues and requirements constantly, we also call parents to school one by one, tell them the dangers of their children studying on empty stomachs, encourage them to open up to the teachers and constantly visit the school to find means of solving the problem.
MODERATOR: We are going for a short commercial break and when we return, we shall let our listeners call in and interact with us here in the studio and to the rest of the listeners. You will call us on 0776 989 906 and 0757 906 906.
SHORT COMMERCIAL BREAK
MODERATOR: I want to welcome you back from that short commercial break, let me just repeat the numbers one more time so that you can call in and share with us, 0776 989 906 and 0757 906 906, let me also remind and beg our female listeners to also please call in and share with us about the way schools and parents are ensuring and making things better for our children to feed at school.
BIRUNGO RICHARD FROM KASANGITA IGANGA DISTRICT: Now on the theme that is in the studio, we have to pity the teachers because basing on the way things are (economic climate) even we parents try so hard but at the end of the day fail to raise the maize or contribution for the feeding of our children, we shall not blame them so much because the economic environment isn’t favourable at all now days, because you completely get demoralized when you hear about the issue of children eating at school, food prices have really gone up, we are also trying to grow some food but that doesn’t help reduce the prices, you try to grow maize thinking that you will take it to school when you harvest but the budget for feeding at home is on the same maize yet you have more than one child, so I am requesting the government to reduce the prices of school requirements because the reason why school fees is also high is because of the high prices of requirements. It’s the only way to reduce the school fees otherwise there is nothing we parents can do because the economic climate is not friendly yet we also want to educate our children.
MODERATOR: Thank you caller, let’s get another one.
MARIAM FROM NANGO: I am requesting parents to protect their children especially during the time when they leave school for home in the evening, let them not behave like the “strays” here in Nango who don’t want to study.
MODERATOR: That’s a good point madam but we are talking about how parents and schools are working together to ensure children feed at school.
2nd CALLER MARIAM FROM NANGO LOST MAYBE DUE TO LOW AIRTIME OR POOR NETWORK
MODERATOR: Okay we have lost you but thank you for calling in, let’s get another caller.
TEACHER BUTERABA BRIAN, A TEACHER FROM GOD’S MERCY P/S: Thank you for the wonderful show
MODERATOR: Thank you Mr. Buteraba, so how are you and parents ensuring children eat at your school?
TEACHER BUTERABA BRIAN: On that issue, I want to encourage parents to really strive hard to enable their children eat at school because at my school, you really get demoralized and feel sorry when you are reading out names of the children who cleared in order for them to eat porridge, but those who haven’t cleared stand on the side and look at their friends eating, generally the whole scene is saddening. So parents should work hard to ensure their children be part of the feeding group for better results.
MODERATOR: Okay thanks for calling Mr. Buteraba.
KAZIBA SADAT FROM BAALE: I want to thank you for bringing those gentlemen in the studio.
MODERATOR: You’re welcome Mr. Kaziba, please say something about today’s theme of the show which is how parents and teachers are working together to ensure children feed at school.
KAZIBA SADAT FROM BAALE: I only want to send a message to my fellow parents that we should encourage and work with one another in ensuring our children eat at school because they need to eat something at the right time in order to understand what is being taught in class, for better results since these children are the leaders of tomorrow, so they should listen and comply when teachers ask them to bring maize or money in order to access meals. Thank you very much.
NDEGO ALEX MAGEZI FROM IGANGA BUT CALLING FROM LUGAZI:
MODERATOR: Please talk about today’s theme of the show
NDEGO ALEX MAGEZI FROM IGANGA BUT CALLING FROM LUGAZI: First of all, I want to thank you for bringing those guests and themes that bring all stakeholders of education together like the teachers, parents, school heads, committee members and others. All I can say about children being able to feed at school is, parents who don’t care whether their children eat at school or not, are not really parents 100% because life without food is not life at all, if even parents can’t function properly without eating, now what about young children, ‘A hungry life is a docile mind” as the English saying goes, as one of the callers has said that we need to be realistic, serious and perform our roles as parents because the children are ours and we need to cater for them whether at home or at school in terms of feeding.
Most parents have a misguided logic that they can produce as many children as possible since the government is ready to educate them through UPE, but the deputy speaker’s speech on his visit to Busoga region, even though some misquoted and misunderstood him, he wondered why most of the people who don’t have money are the ones who are over producing children, but people who have moved and visited different regions can testify like in Mbarara district, parents really care about their children and you find that most of them tare financially stable but give birth to small number of children, for example 2-3 children. So I am requesting my fellow parents to provide means of feeding their children at school because it’s really bad for other children to eat while yours goes hungry, he/she sits alone under a tree and also sees the teacher in the staff room eating and when that same teacher comes to teach in class, the child will be biased and will not pay attention to whatever that teacher is teaching, hence poor results, the government starts with you as an individual. So let’s help our children eat at school in order for them to get good grades or results.
MODERATOR: Okay thank you very much Mr. Ndego.
BITULIBINGI IN BUYUMBA: I am just appreciating the good work you are doing.
MODERATOR: Thank you sir, but please say something about today’s theme of ways parents and teachers are working together to ensure our children eat at school.
BITULIBINGI IN BUYUMBA: If you’re a parent who grew some crops like maize and the Lord helped you get good yields, you can take them at school before they get rotten or consumed up by the family at home to avoid the scarcity and your child not eating at school.
MODERATOR: Okay thank you for calling, our listeners, those are some of the views of our callers as you have heard them, most of them are advising parents to contribute or take the necessities to enable their children eat, Mr. Ngobi, before we went for a short commercial break, you were still saying something, so please complete what you were saying.
MR.NGOBI JAMES: Thank you madam, first and foremost let me thank all the callers for sharing with us, which means we have not just been talking to ourselves but to an audience which has been listening in, now to continue from where I had stopped, I was at a certain school as deputy head teacher, we called for a meeting where parents attended in big numbers, afterwards a decision was reached on what to bring to school which was 3 kgs of maize plus 2500/=, my boss started grinding the maize into flour, but very many children’s parents had not brought the maize plus the money, so he invited parents as individuals to school, but he added another trick of moving among the children during the time of eating porridge and he would find a single child with one cup of porridge but sharing “a sip by sip” with five others. He wouldn’t interrupt but would request them to pose in order for him to take a snap or picture and a video of them using his smart phone; he would repeat the same procedure with the other groups of children doing the same thing.
So he would show the parents he invited of the children who were begging to take a sip of the other children’s porridge the pictures and videos, those parents would be shocked, in disbelief, embarrassed and at the same time feel sorry which would change their attitudes and ended up bringing the necessary requirements for their children to start eating at school, the head teacher used that technique and it worked on most of the parents and those children in the pictures and videos also benefitted because they no longer begged but had a mug with them full of porridge during the time for eating. The porridge may be light and little, but it’s better than nothing. Thank you, that is what I wanted to add on before we went for a short commercial break.
MODERATOR: You are welcome and thank you as well for sharing that technique with us, we all had the callers advising their fellow parents to contribute maize or money to enable their children eat at school, now you, Mr. Mwonda, you are a parent, at the school where your children study how much money do you pay or contribute per child?
MR.MWONDA JESSE: Thank you madam Brenda, let me first thank and appreciate the callers for calling in and sharing with us because that’s how we know that they are listening in, where my children study, we contribute 11,000/= which figure compensates for the maize for those who cannot take it in bulk, grinding or milling fee is also part of that figure, plus the cook who prepares the porridge is paid on that money.
MODERATOR: How many kilograms of maize are you meant or supposed to take?
MR.MWONDA JESSE: We are supposed to take 5 kilograms of maize, we added it up and that’s the figure that would be enough for each child to eat at school.
MODERATOR: In fact, that money is even little to feed a child for the whole term which is three months but I know there are those parents who fail or refuse to pay that money, those particular parents like Mr. Ngobi has just told us the technique the head teacher of a particular school used of taking photos and videos, not until they were showed those embarrassing videos and photos that they paid and their children started eating, now my question is, why are some parents so rigid and hesitant to bring the contribution, please talk about that issue.
- MWONDA JESSE: That issue, Madam Brenda, like the English saying that states that “Minority goes with Majority”, the small number blends in with the big number, when meetings are called by the school, there are some resolutions that we make as per majority number but some few parents are not contended and dissatisfied as per minority number, they leave the meetings grumbling in their small gatherings. I think the head teacher who used that technique of the videos and pictures wanted to show them evidence of their own children looking miserable, hungry which makes them beg for sips on other children’s’ cups whose parents took the initiative and responsibility to pay, that was the best way they could learn that a child has to eat while at school for their comfortable stay and enable good results.
My advice to those parents is that however much the situation is hard; we should take the initiative to take the maize grain to school in order for our children to eat and not be like some people who don’t want to eat together with others who think that when he/she takes his maize to school, other parents’ children and the teachers will also feast on his/her maize, those particular parents think the maize they bring is the one taking to the mill and grinded to get the teachers’ food, they forget that by not contributing, they are affecting their own children’ performance and health, so those particular parents should abandon that mentality and logic.
MODERATOR: For sure, those particular parents are selfish like Mr. Ngobi said that some parents choose to give their children 500/= daily than contributing money for that child to share with friends, Mr. Ngobi, please tell us how much money is it per child for feeding?
MR.NGOBI JAMES: Its 15,000/= only.
MODERATOR: You can imagine 15,000/= yet some parents choose to give their parents 500/= every day for a term, if you multiply that money by the number of days, it exceeds 15,000/=, so in brief, send out a message to the parents out there who are listening in about the subject matter of today’s show because there are very many government schools out there which have that as a very big challenge which leads to children’s performance being poor simply because children are not eating at school. Let’s start with you Mr.Ngobi.
MR.NGOBI JAMES: My last words to the parents are that eating is vital for everyone because without food, we cannot survive or live, when our children are at school, they need to be able to eat because some eat something very early in the morning inform of tea and some don’t, so a child is going to school hungry sometimes, he/she has to use the brain and body because of some lessons like physical education (P.E) so she/he may not be able to use the brain and body to the maximum because of the hunger. I advise and beg them to please ensure they take maize or money at school to ensure their children eat so that they be comfortable to get good grades at school. A satisfied child is obedient to the teachers because most of the children who are disobedient and immoral are those that don’t eat, a fed child plays and lives with other children in peace and harmony at school, a fed child’s brain is sharp and grasps what is being taught in class, a fed child cannot think about escaping from school, a child who feeds regularly cannot think about dodging or skipping school, an un fed child is the one who keeps making excuses and lies of being sick and unable to perform some activities at school. Children most especially the girls get temptations and may fall victim to hooligans who may impregnate them simply because they are choosing to mingle and get involved with them, because of the hunger yet these trouble causers are offering them something to eat.
So my fellow parents, I am both a teacher and a parent, our children do deserve to be facilitated in order for them to be able to feed at school. A good parent, like the caller from Buyumba said, the moment we harvest our crops when they get ready in the gardens for example maize, we should act very fast and take the required amount to school before it either goes bad or we consume it at home, that is a very good direction to take because once you take and the child has access to the porridge at school, you be at peace with yourself for the whole term, other parents wait until the children have studied like for 2-3 weeks, then they come and claim, since they have studied for those particular weeks he/she should be favoured and the quantity he/she should bring be reduced, but he/she forgets that if every parent was doing the same thing, the school wouldn’t go forward, so every parent should try hard to ensure they do what is expected of in the right time them for the smooth running of the school.
MODERATOR: Okay send greetings to two people before Mr. Mwonda Jesse also concludes.
- NGOBI JAMES: Thank you madam for that opportunity, first of all I want to send greetings to my wife who takes care of me, I cannot fail to send greetings to her because she is my first priority, and all the parents of Sagitu island P/S plus my bosses in the education office.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much Mr. Ngobi James, Mr, Mwonda Jesse, please send out a word or two the listeners and parents out there about our theme of the show today as we conclude.
- MWONDA JESSE: Madam Brenda, there was a point I had forgotten, another issue that’s causing parents not to pay money for feeding is, some parents are immediate neighbours of the schools, so they opt for their children to be coming home and eat on either break time or lunch time which also prohibits them from bringing the necessities for their children to eat at school.
Another reason is basing on the fact that I am a local leader, so some misunderstandings between a female and male parent at home can be caused by, for example some men who don’t want to work but wake in the morning, go to play board games in the trading centres like Ludo, the woman wakes up very early to go the garden single handedly, and when the crops are ready and harvested, it’s the man who sales it off yet he didn’t help the woman in the garden during the planting, weeding, etc. which weakens the feeding both for the children at school and the family at home. But what I want to tell my fellow parents out there is that they should take the initiative and take money and maize for feeding for children to perform better to secure ours, and their future.
Let’s ensure our children feed at school, provide them with requirements and scholastic materials, let’s be parents who take the initiative to find out how their children are performing at school, attend meetings regularly, it will help us because, “once you plant, you must weed” in order to succeed.
Some parents tend to just give their children money or maize to take to school themselves forgetting that some of them are greedy, the child stops on the way and sells off the maize or spends the money but because they don’t take the initiative to follow up and find out whether the maize or money reached the school, and whether the child feeds or not, it’s also affecting children’s behaviour and life at school. In the end, the children end up hating the school because they are assured to go hungry but if the parents clear them to have access to the meals, then their attitudes towards school changes for the better.
MODERATOR: Please send greetings to two people.
MWONDA JESSE: I first of all want to send greetings to the people that I lead in my jurisdiction as LC 1, of Kayogera, I know most of the have tuned in and sharpened their ears to listen to what we have been talking about in the studio, my lovely wife who ensures I lead a good life, she wished me farewell and good luck as I left today in the morning plus my children, my God bless you.
MODERATOR: Thank you sir, I want to thank all our callers for calling in and sharing with us, and also continue to emphasize that today’s theme is very important in the education of our children, one of our callers even commented that it’s hard for you to teach a hungry child because the hunger will not enable him/her concentrate and focus on what you are teaching, the head teacher has also said that the child’s hunger may as well shift to anger towards the teacher in class, which affects the child’s performance and results at the end of the term.
Another parent said that school gardens are around and should be used to grow crops to ease the feeding process, but the problem or hindering factor to the success of that remedy is that government schools tend to have very many children, and no so much land to fully produce food to cater for all of the children, so, please parents continue to work together with teachers to ensure that our children feed at school properly, which means porridge at 10:00am and lunch (solid food) at 1:00pm daily for better results and smooth running of our schools.
As a means to ease the situation, since there is scarcity of money, a parent can choose to take a certain quantity of maize every week or money after reaching an agreement with the teachers concerned, until it reaches the desired total amount, for those parents who are unable to clear at once, whatever means or measures you use, as long as at the end of the day, the child is not left behind when it comes to time for meals.
It is also good to teach children how to share from a tender age, this can be attained by letting him/her feast together with friends and colleagues during meal time, but giving him/her 500/= creates selfishness and greed because as the others come together to feast somewhere, that particular child is somewhere by him/herself eating alone, that child may even decide to keep that money and not to eat at the right time but may keep that money and end up begging his/her friends for sips of the porridge, so the parent thinks the child at least uses the 500/= to epurchase something to eat yet he/she doesn’t .
Another issue like Mr. Ngobi said, sometimes children more especially girls may be tempted to get involved with the wrong groups of people, so she gets involved with them because they can get her something to eat, which may lead to early pregnancies as these wrong people may ask for “tit for tat”. But all this arising because the parents are unable to ensure their children feed at school.
Let me encourage and advice parents who don’t want to pay money for their children to feed, to please change their attitudes and pay that money or take the maize in order for your children to feed at school, they cannot perform or get good results and grades on hungry stomachs.
I want to thank ELEVATE, partners of education for financially sponsoring us, to send greetings to thank the people we work with from Mayuge, Bugiri, Iganga and Bugweri, thank you so much our listeners for staying tuned in and calling to interact with us, greetings go to Community Concern Initiative Uganda, my parents from Magamaga.
I wish you a very good weekend, thank you for listening in and May God Bless you all.