Former Presidential aide urges media to promote Social Investment programmes

#TrackNigeria –The former Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment, Maryam Uwais, has appealed to the media to promote the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIPs) of the Federal Government.

The appeal was contained in a statement signed by Mr Justice Bibiye, Communications Consultant, National Social Investment Office, in Abuja on Tuesday.

Bibiye said Uwais addressed a Capacity Building workshop on Communication in Public and Media Engagement for communication Officers of the National Home -Grown School Feeding Team.

Uwais said the appeal had become imperative in view of the fact that reporting only bad outcomes could discourage funding and the continuation of a laudable programme that was addressing many needs in the rural economy.

She said the programme was currently making significant impact on the educational, agricultural and empowerment sectors in favour of poor and most vulnerable citizens.

She urged participants to be proactive, circumspect and quick to dispel fake news to ensure that public opinion did not run against a well intended programme of government.

The former Presidential Adviser on Social Investment who was in charge of the SIPs between 2016 and May 29, 2019, underscored constructive criticisms as crucial to effective planning for better service delivery of the Social safety net programmes.

She lamented the situation where some media reports about the scheme either focused more on the negatives or promote falsehood that misled members of the public.

“You are custodians of this project. You must ensure that when these fake stories come out, you put them in context.

“When they say something bad is happening here, there are enough positive outcomes to also say it is happening positively there.”

According to her, the National Home- Grown School Feeding Program is achieving intended results as school enrolment and child nutrition have improved significantly in states where the programme is currently being implemented.

Uwais said that the National Economic Summit Group, working with Accenture, conducted some impact evaluation studies on the School feeding programme and had reported that the children were more diligent and more attentive in class because they now ate better.

“For many of the children in our government schools, they are happy that good food is available and their parents are encouraged to send their children to attend classes, especially in the remote areas.”

Uwais admitted that the programme had encountered a number of challenges that bordered on sharp practices by some State officials and coordinators in a few states.

She said the programme managers had since put in place measures to address the problem and ensured that all stakeholders worked to achieve desired results.

She added that collaboration with monitors and anti-corruption agencies had proved productive and would be ramped up in the coming months.

The former presidential adviser also encouraged the media to continue to report nefarious practices as feedback from the field would ensure an enhancement of the quality and quantity of food served to the children. (NAN)