Primary and secondary schools in Arid and Semi Arid Lands (Asal) will start to benefit from the feeding programme launched by the state.
Schools belonging to ten counties classified as Asal will start to get locally produced food in a programme dubbed “Home Grown” from next month.
Schools will get cash sent to the school account for feeding their learners. School heads will then sit with their Boards of Management (BOM) to procure food for the learners.
In primary schools both primary and junior secondary section will receive money for the programme.
Details of the schools to receive the money for buying food have already been sent to the Ministry. Around 540 unregistered schools have been added to the programme list.
The government rolled out the initiative to send food rations to schools to keep learners in class.
Schools are about to start second term games activities. The programme will help learners attend important school activities.
The programme is in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP). Details from the Ministry of Education show that there is low enrolment of learners in most Asal schools.
Learners are unable to regularly attend school with some dropping out due to the effects of harsh economy that make parents unable to provide for their children.
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu listed learners as the most affected by hunger.
“As we continue to deal with the devastating drought and famine which has hampered food production significantly, we have sought inter-ministerial and inter-governmental interventions to ensure that food reaches those who cannot access it,’’ said Machogu during book launch.
He was speaking at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development during the launch of a handbook titled: History of Kenya’s school meals programme.
Machogu had said more than 2.5 million learners from 10 counties in arid areas benefit from food ration annually.
Last school term 5,667 metric tonnes of food was sent to the most affected counties, including Isiolo, Garissa, Turkana, Marsabit, Tana River, Mandera, Wajir and Samburu.
“We are dispatching food consisting of 4,313 metric tonnes of rice, 1,150 metric tonnes of beans, 147 metric tonnes of oil and 57 metric tonnes to support children for a duration of one month,” Machogu had said.
“We shall continue to work tirelessly towards ensuring that we provide support to the school meals programme to improve learner admission and retention,” said Machogu.
Machogu said the food dispatched had been procured from local farmers and suppliers.
WFP’s Deputy Executive Director for Programme and Policy Development Valerie Guarnieri said they would continue to support the programme.