Aiming to restore the normal nutritional status of school pupils and improved class attendance, the Cebu Provincial Government together with partners launched on Wednesday, November 22, the ‘Kusina sa Kahimsug ug Pag–amuma’ (KKP) program in its pilot area in San Remigio town, northwest Cebu.
Kusina is a collaborative community feeding project that includes the Department of Education (DepEd)-Cebu Province, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Gawad Kalinga (GK) and San Remigio LGU.
The project aims to reduce hunger, aid in the development of children, promote good health, and lessen inequities by providing free meals to a targeted 5,000 kindergarten and grade 6 pupils for 120 days.
Cebu Governor Hilario P. Davide III said earlier that with the participation of these agencies, the project hopes to reduce poverty incidence in some areas of Cebu province with Capitol shelling out an initial P3 million for the construction of two central kitchens.
For the food, DepEd allocates around P13-14 per child and another P1 per child for operational expenses. Multiplied by 120 feeding days, it sums up to about P1,800 per child.
“This is a collaboration with these agencies in hope of reducing poverty. This is unlike our regular feeding programs,” Davide said in a press conference held Monday, Nov. 20.
Davide explained that the project will involve the community where school teachers and local volunteers will prepare the meals.
Aside from providing healthy food, the program will also conduct an information drive for parents so they themselves can provide the same nutrition to their children when the program is completed.
KKP, a Visayan counterpart of the “Kusina ng Kalinga” program of GK, has been targeted to be implemented soon in other towns of the province.
Cebu Investment and Promotions Officer Roy Soledad said the replication of the project will follow after certain considerations and evaluations. GK has also implemented the project in Leyte, Quezon City and Valenzuela City.
In Cebu, gubernatorial spouse Jobel Angan-Davide sits as Kusina adviser and head of research mobilization, prompting her to visit the Central Kitchen of Valenzuela City on August 24 together with Gov. Davide, provincial administrator Atty. Mark C. Tolentino, San Remigio mayor Mariano Martinez, and representatives from DepEd and GK.
Meanwhile, Martinez said Kusina also aims to alleviate poverty in his town as the ingredients will be sourced out from local farmers.
When asked for reasons as to why San Remigio has been chosen as pilot area for the program, Martinez said that he “sees on the need in adopting GK’s program in order to bring back the students who opt not to go to school due to lack of resources, specifically food.”
“I am very grateful that the province decided to build up two central kitchens. Kung naay pagkaon sa skwelahan, dako kaayo og purohan nga they’ll be allowed to go to school,” Martinez said.
Moreover, GK Cebu head Antonio Florendo emphasized the importance of volunteerism as an important factor in sustaining the program.
“It’s difficult to have a system wherein there’s a lot of pressure only in a few individuals. It’s about using the current budget more efficiently,” Florendo said emphasizing the importance of community participation.
According to the joint estimates of the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank, the Philippines has about 6 to 8% of children under five who were wasted, and about 2% were severely wasted. It added that about a third of these children under five have stunted growth, while fifth of them are underweight.