School feeding programme attracts children in difficult environments to access school to get education

NAIROBI 6th June, 2017 — Senior government officials and their counterparts from United States Department of Agriculture (USAD) and World Food programme ( WFP) yesterday visited one of the Primary Schools in Marsabit County, whose pupils has, for many years, benefited from National School Meals Programme.

The visit to Kamatonyi Primary School in Leisamis Sub County follows plans by the Government of Kenya to fully take over the School Meals Feeding Programme that WFP has been helping government to support since 1980.

Ministry of Education’s Director of Policy, Mr. Mogaka Ogutu, thanked WFP and the United States of America for the support it has provided Kenyan children in arid and semi-Arid areas in this country not access schooling.

He was accompanied by his counterparts from the Directorate of Primary Education, Mr. Hobart Abdi and that of Quality Assurance and Standards (QAS), Mr. Pius Mutisya.

He said the support has helped attract children in difficult environments to access school and remain there to get an education.

Together, WFP and the Government of Kenya provide meals every school day for more than 1.6 million children across the arid and semi-arid areas and in the poor informal settlements of Nairobi.

More than 850,000 of those children benefit from the government-led programme which the government has strengthened through increased funding a head of fully taking over the programme.

Since 2009, WFP has been transitioning this programme to Government ownership, with the launch of a national home-grown meals programme.  In this model, the Government transfers cash to schools to buy food from the local market.

WFP has been supporting 500,000 children the programme.

The government has allocated Shs.2.5billion to cater for the Home Grown School Meals Programme, (HGSMP) having allocated Shs.1.6billion, more to take care of 1.6million children in Arid and Semi-Arid areas in the country.

The Deputy Country Director of WFP, Mr. Lora Fossi said school meals protect vulnerable children from hunger and offer a regular source of nutrients essential for the mental and physical development of young children.

“They encourage parents to send their children – especially girls – to school and keep them there,” he noted.

He thanked the United States for the support it has given to WFP, saying USAD finances more than 40% of the food donations that WFP gives to pupils across the globe.

A United States Department of Agriculture Official, Mr. Kevin Sage-EL said the programme had made possible for thousands of children in difficult environments.

The head teacher of School, Mrs. Alice Lepaati praised the school feeding programme saying it attracted majority of children to school.

“Some of these children come to school because of the food,” Mrs. Lepaati said, noting that the programme was responsible for the large proportion of children in schools in the area.