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Govt gets funds to support school feeding projects

17 September 2013, 16:13

Nairobi - The government has received KES 849 million from Canada to fund a cash transfer pilot project for school meals in arid regions.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), in conjunction with the Government and Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), have officially launched the project, the first of its kind in the country.

Part of Canada’s contribution will go towards cash transfers to enable schools to buy food from local traders or small-scale farmers, stimulating agricultural production in arid areas.

The Canadian contribution will also be used to fund the development of a sustainable model for school meals in arid lands, as well as to support existing WFP school meals programmes, and water, sanitation and hygiene projects for schools in arid areas.

“Canada is proud to contribute to an innovative approach to school meals that also promotes community economic growth and local ownership.Working with the World Food Programme, we will help children enroll and stay in school and build a brighter future,” said Minister of International Development Christian Paradis.

WFP Kenya Country Director, Ronald Sibanda, said WFP and Kenya were working to empower County Governments to take a holistic approach to food security and nutrition issues in their areas. He said school meals will play a critical role in that strategy.

Eighty percent of Kenya is arid and semi-arid land, subject to pervasive climate shocks, food insecurity and poverty. About 4.3 million people live in arid areas, mainly in the north, and health indicators are significantly poorer here. Food prices are generally around 50 percent higher than in other more productive areas of the country.

WFP and the government have been supporting school meals in the country since 1980. About 1.3 million children receive food in schools in arid and semi-arid areas.

To ensure the sustainability of the school meals programme, WFP and the government have been implementing a gradual handover to the Government’s Home-Grown School Meals Programme with an average of 50 000 children moving from WFP school meals to the national programme each year.

The government-funded programme, which began in 2009, supports more than 750 000 children in 1 700 schools in semi-arid areas while WFP supports a further 600 500 children in 1 500 schools in arid areas and in slums in Nairobi.

– CAJ News



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