Nakuru County Pilots School Feeding Program

Nakuru County Government has started a pilot school feeding program in Njoro sub-county as they prepare for implementation all over the county, with the aim of improving children's concentration levels while in class. Launching the exercise today, County Executive Committee Member for Education Ms. Zipporah Wambui said that this is a collective effort and every stakeholder is important to ensure success of the program in the County as per Governor Susan Kihika Manifesto. She said the aim of the pilot program was to include and inform key stakeholders on the upcoming School Feeding Program, among them parents, ECDE teachers, KEPSHA, KNUT, Ministry of Education, NGAO, Public Health, MCAs among others stakeholders in order to instill a sense of ownership of the program among the surrounding communities. A number of residents who participated in the forum, noted that the county sponsored feeding program would not only retain more children in school, but it would reduce the burden of parents who have been contr ibuting money monthly for their children to be given lunch at school. However, those whose parents aren't capable of paying are left out, hence leading to inequity at schools. Over the years UNICEF has promoted the importance of school feeding programs in developing countries, through grants and support from other NGOs. However, more often than not, whenever the donors leave, the programme slowly fizzles out. Nutritionists have always emphasized the importance of balanced diets for growing children for their physical and mental development, which has a positive impact on their capacity to comprehend what they are taught in school. The first School Feeding Program in the country was started in the then central province and parts of Nairobi in 1967. It expanded between 1970 and 1978 to serve children in the arid regions according to the two National Development plans ending in 1978. However, the most celebrated, memorable, and creditable, is the Nyayo milk scheme, which to date is lauded to have had a posit ive effect on education and contributed to increased enrolment and retention of pupils at the primary school levels. A parent from Molo, Julius Mwaniki who attended the forum, said St. Mary's primary in the sub county has had the longest school feeding program which was initiated by a retired innovative headmaster, remembered to date, who managed to convince the parents of the importance of contributing money for their children's school lunch. Mwaniki recalled with nostalgia the good performance of the primary school in the 1970s and 80s, when it was considered a role model, and it produced the most notable professionals from Molo. Source: Kenya News Agency