NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s Ministry of Education and partners on
Wednesday launched a school feeding program targeting arid and
semi-arid counties to boost enrolment among children from
nomadic communities affected by hunger and malnutrition.
Cabinet Secretary for Education, said the state and multilateral
partners will spend 30 million U.S. dollars to feed an estimated
two million school children in the arid zones.
“Global evidence on
health and nutrition interventions in schools reveal a multiple
win for policymakers with important benefits for school
achievement, employment and economic growth,” Mohamed said.
She noted that
provision of nutritious meals will boost cognitive abilities of
children in Kenya’s northern dry outposts that have always
grappled with droughts and conflicts.
“Meals provided in
schools offer direct benefits to the health and cognitive
development of pupils by preventing or reversing adverse health
effects of poor feeding habits,” said Mohamed.
The East African
nation has borrowed global best practices to develop a national
school meals and nutrition strategy covering 2017 to 2022 to
tackle hunger and stunting that is to blame for poor academic
performance among children in marginalized regions.
Mohamed said the
success of school feeding program in the arid counties is
dependent on sound policies, adequate funding and strategic
small-holder farmers and other players in the agriculture value
chain are expected to benefit from the revitalized school
“Other benefits that
will be unleashed by the meals for schools program include
poverty reduction through improve household savings, gender
equality in schools enrolment and reduction in child mortality,”
agencies will provide financial and technical assistance to help
Kenya upscale nutritional interventions for school children in
the arid regions.
Annalisa Conte, the
WFP Country Representative in Kenya, said boosting nutrition
status of children in marginalized counties will have a positive
impact on the economy, security and communal relations.
evaluations have demonstrated that school meals are one of the
most important and dependable safety nets for children and their
families in Kenya,” said Conte.
“The meals represent
an indirect income transfer to households and a powerful
incentive for families to continue to invest in education,
despite their livelihoods being under stress,” she added.
Conte hailed Kenya’s
school feeding program terming it a model for other African
countries grappling with higher illiteracy levels among children
in drought hotspots.