Thanks to Ghana’s School Feeding Programme, Fuseini Fatmata and her school friends in Tamale, northern Ghana, don’t have to go hungry for long. But there are many more children this programme has yet to reach...
Fuseini Fatmata, 12, is a little girl with big ambitions. Keen to be a teacher or a nurse, she hopes one day to be able to look after her whole family and put an end to going without food.
The impact of hunger
Fuseini knows only too well how important it is to get enough to eat. As a widow, Fuseini’s mother finds it hard to provide for the family. Breakfast is never guaranteed and Fuseini often goes hungry.
Fuseini says: ‘My stomach will be boiling when we don’t eat and it’s like a sickness to me. I feel dizzy and have stomach pains.’
Not only does poor nutrition increase the likelihood that a child will not survive into adulthood but those who are persistently hungry struggle to concentrate at school.
As a result, many will not achieve the results they need to stand a better chance of lifting themselves and their communities out of poverty and building a future free from hunger.
Fuel for learning
These days though, Fuseini knows that she will not have to go hungry for long.
The primary school she attends receives government support through its School Feeding Programme and so she knows she will get a hot and healthy meal each day at school.
Gbanyamni Primary School’s menus are carefully planned to ensure the pupils – including Fuseini – have a nutritious and balanced diet.
Fuseini is enthusiastic about the project: ‘When I eat, I get energy. I feel better in class after I’ve eaten. My mum knows this is good for us. If there wasn’t feeding at school, it wouldn’t look good for us.’
Funds to build on success
While children like Fuseini are healthier and have a chance of a better future thanks to Ghana’s School Feeding Programme there are many more children it is yet to reach.
To fund the School Feeding Programme’s expansion, Ghana will need to raise more revenue. But the Ghana Revenue Authority believes it currently loses vital revenue to tax dodging.
George Blankson, commissioner general at the Ghana Revenue Authority says: ‘Tax avoidance is a concern in Ghana. Companies that are large and have a lot of international connections find it easier to beat the system.
'There is in our situation the need for a lot more tax revenue to alleviate poverty and improve the standard of living.’
Calling for tax justice
If Ghana could access the information they need to see what profits are being made there, it could collect the taxes it is owed.
Higher tax revenues could mean more money for projects like Ghana’s School Feeding Programme, which have a critical role to play in ending hunger in the country.
Change is possible. IF enough of us come together to tell our MPs to tackle tax dodging, Ghana could secure the resources it needs to make sure no child goes hungry.
You can join Christian Aid in calling for an end to hunger as part of the IF campaign.