The Osun Elementary School Feeding and Health Programme now known as O-MEALS is the one of the few surviving school meal programmes in the country. It was formerly known as the Home Grown School Feeding and Health Programme (HGSFP) . This has now been restructured and enhanced by the administration of the State of Osun, to reach a larger number of students (254,000) and to empower over 3000 community caterers.
The programme was initiated by the Federal Government in 2004 through the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act. On assumption of office, the present administration undertook a comprehensive review of the inherited school feeding arrangement and came up with an overhauled and rebranded programme that was officially launched on the 30th April 2012. Implementation in primary schools is ongoing throughout the State. The key areas of improvement undertaken by the current administration are, inclusion of elementary year 4 , thereby increasing beneficiaries to 254,000, Capacity Development and Empowerment 3007 Community Caterers , Backwards Integration to Local Markets and Process Improvements
This scheme has gained international endorsement as well. In November 2012, Partnership for Child Development (PCD) United Kingdom and the Government of the State of Osun signed the Osun Elementary School Feeding Transition Strategy Plan Document to further strengthen the programme.
O-MEALS aims to reverse the very low academic performance of pupils noting that good nutrition is necessary for development of cognitive skills. The daily feeding allowance for each pupil has also been increased from ₦50.00 to ₦250.00.
For effective service a total number of 3,007 food vendors/cooks were trained and are currently employed to serve midday meals for pupils of classes 1, 2 , 3 and 4 in all primary schools in the State of Osun. For easy identification, each of the food vendors was provided with uniforms free of charge.
The uniforms provided include gowns, aprons, and caps. The government of the State of Osun also facilitated provision of cooking utensils for each of the caterers at minimal cost. First Bank PLC granted a loan of ₦124.5 million to 123 cooperative groups of food vendors for purchasing cooking utensils. The government of the State of Osun also agreed to pay the interest accrued on the loan facility and food vendors are to repay the loan within 36 months (3 years).
The programme has helped increase school enrolment by a minimum of 25% since the commencement of the revised programme.