The World Food Programme (WFP) has commended the government’s effort to maintain the School Feeding Programme that has helped to attract and retain children in schools.
Although the government assumed full funding of the programme in 2018, WFP continues to provide capacity development support for both National and County governments to strengthen implementation of the school meals programmes.
The Principal Secretary (PS) for Early Learning and Basic Education, Dr. Julius Jwan said that school meals are one of the drivers of access to education which promotes health, nutrition and improved access to basic education.
He reiterated that the school feeding programme has helped to attract and retain children in schools.
The PS made the remarks during the validation of the draft ‘Kenya School Meals Policy’ by stakeholders in Education at the Kenya Institute for Curriculum Development (KICD) Nairobi Wednesday.
Jwan said the policy will provide guidance on the implementation of school meals initiative in basic learning institutions.
“The schools Meals Programme targets 2.5 million learners in Primary schools in 66 sub counties, mainly in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions and informal settlements,” he disclosed.
WFP Country Director for Kenya Lauren Landis said School meals programmes help to combat child hunger, poverty and multiple forms of malnutrition.
“They attract children to school and support their nutrition, learning, long-term wellbeing and health,” stated Landis, adding that school meals are considered an important safety net worldwide supporting households to mitigate against food insecurity.
She added that school meals positively promotes gender equity by supporting girls to attend and graduate from school, thereby reducing the risk of child marriage, early pregnancies and gender-based violence.
“The World Food Programme acknowledges the Government’s commitment to the programme as demonstrated by increased funding, establishment of a fully dedicated School Feeding Unit and a bold move to take over the entire programme,” said Landis.
The stakeholders were drawn from the Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Social protection, Council of Governors, and development partners. Regional Directors and County and Sub-County Directors of Education from the target areas were also in attendance.
By Michael Omondi