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State to scale up school meals program

As Kenya looks forward to engaging in the next phase of collaboration under the second WFP CSP (2023-2027), the Ministry of Education will focus more on scaling up school meals programs, enhancing policy and regulatory frameworks, and applying technology to improve service delivery.

The Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education, Ezekiel Machogu said that the ministry is also aiming to foster deeper cross-sectoral integration, recognizing that challenges like food security, education, health, and climate resilience are deeply interconnected.

Speaking during the Kenya and World Food Program Partnership Coordination Workshop, Machogu said that the partnership with WFP extends beyond the realm of education.

“The shared dedication to improving the lives of Kenyans and refugees has helped us to work in various sectors such as health, agriculture, and disaster management,” Machogu noted.

“This broad-spectrum approach aligns perfectly with the Government’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) which is aimed at enhancing manufacturing, universal healthcare, affordable housing, and food security,” he added.

Machogu highlighted that the partnership also extends beyond the Schools Meals Programme explaining that they have been working hard to provide emergency food assistance and improve access to water for production in arid and semi-arid areas.

“Over the years, the program has significantly improved school attendance, retention, transition, and completion rates, particularly in arid and semi-arid counties with a high prevalence of malnutrition,” Machogu said.

He noted that the partnership has also strengthened the resilience of the communities against the impact of climate change, and improved food security through innovative agricultural initiatives.

“Our collaboration with WFP on the school meals program has evolved over the years, transitioning from a full donor-funded model to a shared model and eventually to a Government-led and in many instances co-financed program,” Machogu explained.

The Education CS said that in recent years under the 2018-2023 CSP, WFP had focused on building the capacity of both National and County Systems, enhancing programmed efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability.

Moving forward, the CS said that they have combined efforts with WFP and have identified three broad Key Result Areas.

“The first area centers on refugees, asylum seekers, and food insecure populations in emergency contexts within Kenya and we have agreed that the technical teams will define programs and activities that ensure the populations receive equitable access to adequate, safe, and nutritious food,” Machogu said.

He added that by 2027 the partnership aims to offer these groups a pathway to inclusive, gender-responsive, and nutrition-sensitive as well as make them self-reliant.

The Second Key Result Area targets food-insecure and risk-prone populations particularly women and youth in rural and urban communities while the third is dedicated to strengthening systems at the national and county levels toward social protection and disaster risk management.

By Fatuma Said

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