As National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) raises red flag to indicate the level of drought in Tharaka Constituency, the government has launched the ‘food for fees’ programme aimed at ensuring that pupils not only remain in school but also concentrate on their studies.
Launching food trucks and water boozers at Marimanti in Tharaka constituency Tuesday, Tharaka Nithi County Commissioner Ms. Beverly Opwora said the prevailing drought has reduced the number of pupils attending school, hence the need for government intervention.
“There are indications that school attendance has declined but with this food for fees programme, the burden on parents will be reduced, thus no child should have any reason to be sent away from school,” she said.
Opwora further disclosed that the water boozers will truck water to all schools, health facilities and villages until the rains come and that those schools supplied with water tanks recently will have them refilled.
She disclosed that ten schools in the constituency have been supplied with water storage tanks and the water boozers have been brought to boost water trucking to these schools, health facilities and strategic water points within the whole constituency.
The County commissioner further disclosed that 320 needy pupils from the constituency will benefit from the ‘food for fees’ programme to ensure that no child is sent home from school during this critical time, when candidates are expected to sit for national examinations.
In a separate interview last week, the administrator had disclosed that the county has received 1,200 bags of maize, 800 bags of beans, 100 bags of rice and 200 cartons of cooking oils, which have been distributed to the sub-counties with instructions to their committees to prioritize schools, health facilities, as well as the aged and the sick, who are most vulnerable to the drought.
She said the drought had affected 100% of both Tharaka North and South Sub-Counties 50% of Igambang’ombe Sub-County and 15% of both Maara and Meru-South Sub-Counties.
The County Commissioner further disclosed that these are only emergency mitigation measures and the government would lay long-term strategies including construction of dams and challenged the other stakeholders, especially the county government to come on board the for the good of the community.
Speaking during the same event, county Deputy Governor Eng. Nyamu Kagwima said his office has already tendered a proposal to the office of the President requesting for Sh5.2 to Sh10 billion to start a programme of water harvesting that once approved will render food shortages a thing of the past in the area.
“If we can effectively harvest water from rooftops and seasonal rivers during rainy seasons, then we will have sufficient water not only for domestic use but also for irrigation and make our county food sufficient,” said Kagwima.
By David Mutwiri