, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 28 – About 1.6 million children will be fed in public and informal schools over the August holidays in a move by the government aimed at cushioning Kenya’s most vulnerable from hunger.
Education Minister Sam Ongeri on Tuesday said the children who have been under the regular school feeding programme will be retained in schools to protect them from malnutrition.
“We have decided as a Ministry and with other supporters that we will now be able to feed them (the children) during the August period when they are on vacation,” he said.
It is expected that by August 7, food will have reached the schools. The holiday feeding will not be compulsory and parents with children in boarding schools in targeted areas who wished to take them home may do so.
He added that the Ministries of Water and Irrigation and Local government have been requested to facilitate the provision of water to schools over the holidays as well.
“I wish to appeal to individuals, religious organisations, corporates and any other well wishers to support the Government of Kenya’s school feeding programme during this period that the country is experiencing severe drought. I wish to appeal for support in form of water storage facilities for schools that do not have them,” he continued.
Since 1980, the Ministry of Education and the World Food Programme have been supporting regular and expanded school feeding programmes targeting 1.1 million to 770,000 students due to escalating food and fuel prices and lately, the global recession.
Professor Ongeri said that the Government initiated the Home Grown School Feeding Programme targeting 550,000 pupils at a cost of Sh400 million while the Japanese government contributed another Sh150 million towards the initiative.
The most recent field assessment of the drought situation in the country indicates that many households in the Arid and Semi Arid Areas are experiencing serious food insecurity.
Most families have moved to neighbouring countries in search of pasture and water for their livestock.