The implementation of the National School Nutrition Programme in addressing child poverty in selected schools within the Ethekwini region.
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Nearly 130 million children between birth and age 6 live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Each year 27 million children are born, and annually 4.7 million young people below 5 years die. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals, 2015 (MDGs) was to eradicate severe deprivation and hunger and make clear that all children accomplish primary schooling. The Reconstruction and Development Plan focused on alleviating impoverishment and destitution and addressing the gaps of socio economic services in the nation. The most fundamental and central settings in the lifecycle of youngsters is the family and school. Together these surroundings have a domineering influence on their academic and emotional performance. The National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) which was formerly presented as the Primary School Feeding Scheme (PSFS) was a strategic project acknowledged by the Reconstruction and Development Programme. The main objectives of the study were to establish the efficiency of the NSNP in lessening child poverty in selected schools in KwaZulu-Natal. A mixed methods approach was undertaken involving members of the school governing body, selected teachers, school principals and district managers of the NSNP. The study focused on the qualitative (phenomenological) and quantitative (positivist) research style. Four selected schools in the Umlazi and Pinetown Districts were consulted. From the data analysed, it was determined that 73.2% of teachers are agreeable that sufficient food is provided to learners, compared to 95.8% of the SGB who were agreeable that learners received enough food. Focusing on social factors, 93% of teachers agree that the NSNP is improving learner attendance in schools. However only 47.9% agree that the NSNP has assisted in reducing poverty. This is an interesting point as it could indicate poverty rates in the area. It also indicates that although the programme influences learner attendance, the objective of reducing poverty is very daunting. Key recommendations that arose from the empirical analysis included: food handlers must deal with various challenges of the programme. The overall efficacy of the NSNP is dependent on proper planning and implementation to ensure that the medium to long-term goals of government regarding the fight against poverty amongst the most vulnerable sector of society is addressed.