The Cabinet Secretary for Education, Hon. Ezekiel Machogu, has outlined measures put in place by the Ministry to introduce a school feeding programme in Mandera County and other Arid and Semi Arid Areas (ASALs). This comes after Hon. Abdul Haro, MP for Mandera South, raised concerns about the high number of students dropping out of school due to hunger in the region.
The school meals programme, which started in 1979, is now Government-led with the World Food Programme having provided assistance until 2017. The programme targets 2 million children from the ASAL regions, consisting of 26 counties. In 11 of counties of Mandera, Tana River, Garissa, Wajir, Marsabit, Isiolo, Samburu, Baringo, West Pokot, Lamu and Turkana, the National Coordination Agency for ASALs Development (NACONEK) provides in-kind support by providing food to the schools.
Hon. Haro further asked on details of the schoo feeding programme in Mandera South Constituency to which the Cabinet Secretary said that Kshs. 336,281,000 has been spent on the programme. In Mandera South Constituency, which has 73 public primary schools and a current enrolment of 30,668 learners, NACONEK has undertaken in-kind food distribution to all public primary schools. Students are provided with two meals per day: porridge during break time and rice and beans during lunchtime.
Members of the National Assembly asked Supplementary Questions regarding the measures put in place to improve school attendance in ASAL areas and the School feeding programme across the country.
While giving his submissions, Education Cabinet Secretary Hon.Machogu said that the Ministry, through NACONEK, is planning to establish low-cost boarding schools in areas with highly scattered settlements or pastoralist communities, to ensure that learners are kept in a school environment during the term period.
These measures have been effective in ensuring that learners from nomadic families attend and remain in school without interruption.