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Uasin Gishu introduces ECDE milk programme to boost child development

In a remarkable move to support early childhood development education (ECDE), Governor Jonathan Bii Chelilim of Uasin Gishu County, in collaboration with the Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC), unveiled a pioneering initiative to provide ECDE milk to young learners.

The launch, held at a local primary school, was attended by key figures including Dr. Bellio Kipsang, the Principal Secretary of the State Department of Basic Education, who commended Governor Bii for his dedication to improving educational outcomes.

During the ceremony, Principal Secretary Bellio Kipsang delivered a speech expressing his admiration for Governor Bii’s vision and commended him for initiating such a transformative programme.

“We thank you for making it easier for us to continue in ensuring that we increase success, increase retention and transition. One meal per day is so important to children mainly when we are dealing with milk,” he said.

He praised the Governor’s decision to make ECDE teachers permanent and pensionable, a move that would enhance their motivation and commitment.

Dr. Kipsang also took the opportunity to urge local farmers to increase milk production to meet the demands of the programme, stressing the importance of their contribution in ensuring the success of the initiative.

Governor Jonathan Bii, in his address, emphasized that the launch of the ECDE milk programme marked the realization of one of his key campaign promises where he pledged to ensure the nutritional wellbeing of the young learners in the ECDE.

The programme aims to provide nutritious milk to 40,000 young learners in 687 ECDE centres across Uasin Gishu County twice a week.

“This programme will benefit more than 40,000 children in our public ECDEs ensuring that they have access to a regular supply of nutritious milk,” he said.

He underscored the significance of combating malnutrition among students from disadvantaged backgrounds, asserting that the programme would level the playing field and contribute to the overall success, retention, and transition of school children.

“This programme addresses the pressing issue of malnutrition that affect many of our learners. We understand that not all children come from the same background,” added Chelilim.

The Governor extended his support to local farmers, promising to ensure a steady supply of animal feed to boost milk production. Creating a favorable environment for dairy farmers, will to foster economic growth and alleviate poverty within the county.

In his remarks, Deputy Governor Eng. John Barorot indicated that the programme will have a transformative impact in promoting learning in the ECDEs.

He praised Governor Bii’s initiative and encouraged teachers to handle the milk with care and ensure it is consumed within the school premises.

Eng. Barorot expressed his belief that Uasin Gishu County’s forward-thinking approach to ECDE would serve as a benchmark for other counties to emulate.

Former Governor of West Pokot, Prof. John Lonyangapuo, lauded the leadership demonstrated by Governor Bii and emphasized the need to prioritize education without political interference.

He emphasized that a strong education system is crucial for national development and commended the ECDE milk program for its potential to attract and retain children in schools.

Nixon Sigey, the Managing Director of the Kenya Cooperative Creameries, expressed gratitude to the Uasin Gishu County government for spearheading the ECDE milk program.

Sigey highlighted the program’s positive impact on dairy farmers and encouraged them to seize the new market niche as a means of improving their livelihoods.

“This is a very noble program which will support the nutrition of our children in this county and will also go a long way in supporting our dairy farmers,” noted Sigey.

Various stakeholders including county KNUT and KUPPET representatives and the National Government Administrative Officers (NGAOs) lauded county boss for the implementation of historic milk programme for the ECDE, as they assured of providing a convenient environment to ensure proper security of the milk.

By Linda Kitum and Isack Kololo

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