Kenya's biggest school meals program to be launched in Africa
The effort, which will begin in Nairobi, intends to "remove the stigma of hunger" by providing 4 million primary school students with regular lunches.
In the Kenyan capital, 225 primary schools and Early Childhood Development centers will provide 400,000 daily meals to children thanks to ten new kitchens that are now being built. The initiative will begin on August 28, the first day of the fall semester, with the employment of 3,500 individuals.
Nairobi County and Food4Education, a Kenyan non-profit organization that currently provides meals to 150,000 primary school students in the city, collaborated on the $8.6 million (£6.7 million) project.
According to Save The Children, malnutrition causes stunted development in 26% of Kenyan children.
William Ruto, the president of Kenya, said at the launch of the program on Tuesday, that “we must eliminate the shame of hunger in our country. We will be deliberate and focused in ensuring successful implementation of the school feeding programme. The greatest indignity is for our children to go to school and fast because of lack of food.”
To expand the current national feeding program from serving 1.6 million children to 4 million, Ruto said the government has allotted 5 billion Kenyan shillings ($36 million), but he pledged additional counties to contribute in order to boost the funds.
#WorldHunger has been a significant issue since records began, and humanity has made massive efforts in resolving the issue, but more has to be done. Even though the world produces enough food to feed all 7.7 billion people, millions of children go to bed hungry every night. pic.twitter.com/HUcT5TXnLg— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) July 8, 2022
“We are going to match counties who have a plan on school feeding program, shilling for shilling, and if we do that we can actually feed 8 million children in our schools,” he said.
It is worth noting that Kenyan dietitian Wawira Njiru founded Food4Education in 2012 from a temporary kitchen that employed one chef and provided lunch for 25 students at Ruiru Primary School.
The kitchens will be fueled by renewable energy utilizing eco-briquettes and steam gas technology. The development of Food4Education has also been significantly aided by technology: each child receives a wristband called Tap2Eat that is connected to a virtual wallet that parents use to pre-pay 15 shillings ($0.11) for each meal.
Additionally, the collaboration between Food4Education and Nairobi's county government would give farmers a market and job prospects.