“How Are Role-Players in the School Nutrition Programme Trained, Monitored and Supported?” A Qualitative Analysis

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Published on International Journal of Food & Nutrition
ISSN: 2311-357X, Volume 1, Issue 1, page 1 – 19
Publication Date: 20 October 2018

Tafirenyika Mafugu & Cosmas Maphosa

Tafirenyika Mafugu
Kwantebeni Comprehensive High School
Pinetown, South Africa

Cosmas Maphosa
University of Eswatini

Journal Full Text PDF: “How Are Role-Players in the School Nutrition Programme Trained, Monitored and Supported?” A Qualitative Analysis.

The study sought to examine training, monitoring and support provided to NSNP stakeholders in Pinetown district in South Africa. Underpinned by the interpretivist research paradigm, the study followed a qualitative research approach which utilised a grounded theory research design. A purposive sample of thirty-two different stakeholders participated in the study. The qualitative data were categorised into themes which were presented in tables and text. The study found that some of the key stakeholders of NSNP were not adequately supported and trained and that monitoring was only done regularly by the teacher coordinators. District field officers lacked adequate expertise to train stakeholders. Training stakeholders and early payment of the suppliers could significantly improve learners’ benefit from the programme. The study’s proposed framework for the implementation of the school nutrition programme recommends ways to improve the implementation process.

Keywords: Training, Monitoring, Support, Interpretivist Research Paradigm, Stakeholders, Grounded Theory Research Design, & Implementation.

1. Background to the Problem
Approximately 368 million school children in the world receive food at school every day (World Food Programme (WFP), 2016). In countries with the highest poverty rates, the school meal is the only regular nutritious meal that the child receives but few children benefit from school meals due to lack of funding (WFP, 2016). School meals improve attendance in schools, fill the gaps of various nutrient deficiencies and promote the health of children so that the children develop into productive adults. They also help children to focus on their studies and improve their performance (Darko, 2014; Hayes & Berdan, 2013; WFP, 2016). The fact that some learners in these poverty-stricken countries do not access school meals is unfortunate considering the benefits that are derived from such feeding programmes. It is critical to ensure that stakeholders are well trained and supported and the programme is well monitored so as to meet set standards.
United States of America (USA) and Brazil have school feeding programmes that follow specific dietary guidelines and the programmes are successfully implemented as they are well monitored to ensure that all problems in the programme are identified timeously so as to find immediate solutions (Hayes & Berdan 2013; Medeiros, Lima, de Almeida Maffi, de Lima Abadia, Martins, Dalamaria & Ramalho, 2015; Otsuki, 2011). Due to its successful school feeding programmes, Brazil is now playing an important role of sharing lessons learned and best practices with other countries (African Union, 2015; Bundy, Woolnough, Burbano, & Drake, 2016). In sub-Saharan Africa, among low and middle-income countries, food programmes are usually available only in certain geographical locations where problems such as conflicts, food insecurity, low enrolment rates or a combination of factors have been identified (African Union, 2015). Sometimes the food programmes fail to provide food significantly in areas with intense hunger and poverty and the countries concerned need to improve their feeding programmes in such areas (African Union, 2015). It is amazing to note that Ghana school feeding programme had no control or checks on the quality and safety of food served, lack of personal hygiene among caterers, Low quality and quantity of food due to inadequate funding, inefficient monitoring, absence of infrastructure and food suppliers and cooks were not paid on time (Darko, 2014; Okae-Adjei, Akuffo & Amartei, 2016; Sulemana, Ngah & Majid, 2013; WFP, 2016).

1.1 School feeding programme in South Africa
The NSNP was introduced by the government of South Africa in 1994 to address problems of poverty and inequality (Kallman, 2005). The constitutional rights that are addressed by the NSNP are the right of access to sufficient food; section 27 (1), (b) the right to basic nutrition section 28 (1), and (c) the right to basic education; section 29(1) (a) (Kallman, 2005; Lacey, 2012).
Providing meals at school may have a significant impact on the nutritional status and achievement of a learner since the majority of the people in South Africa live in poverty (Lacey, 2012). The programme was introduced in poor community public schools in quintiles 1, 2 and 3 in (Department of Basic Education, 2009; Lacey, 2012). The quintile system is a grouping of schools according to the severity of poverty in a geographical area with the poorest being in quintile 1 and the schools in rich geographical areas like low-density suburbs being in quintile 5. Targeting schools for the school feeding programme was also based on the nutritional status of the learners ……..