Education  Kenya Project #18273

Feed School Children in Kenya

by African Promise
Feed School Children in Kenya
Feed School Children in Kenya
Feed School Children in Kenya
Feed School Children in Kenya
Feed School Children in Kenya
Feed School Children in Kenya
Feed School Children in Kenya
Feed School Children in Kenya
Feed School Children in Kenya
Feed School Children in Kenya
Feed School Children in Kenya
Feed School Children in Kenya
Pupils at Mkamenyi Primary eating their lunch
Pupils at Mkamenyi Primary eating their lunch

The start of the new academic year in Kenya has brought mixed news for the lunch programme we support in our partner schools.

As planned, we have extended the programme to include our eighth partner school at Mkamenyi Primary now that the kitchen and dining hall we have built there as part of an on-going whole-school redevelopment are operational. *All* pupils at Mkamenyi are now receiving a lunchtime meal at school for the first time in recent history and with around 600 pupils across primary and pre-primary year groups at the school we are now providing food for a daily lunchtime meal for some 3,000 children across our network - a tenfold increase since we began supporting the initiative in a single school in 2013.

Unfortunately, we have simultaneously had to make significant changes to the amount of food we supply (at least for this term).

With our supplier having difficulty sourcing maize which normally constitutes the carbohydrate element of the primary pupil meal, owing to a lack of local supplies and disruption to imported supplies at the border, and with the resumption of the programme being delayed as a result, for this term we have provided rice for all pupils to accompany the beans. However with the cost of rice more than double that of maize, together with prices for all items being higher than we had forecast as recently as January, we were looking at a cost for the programme more than 80% higher than budgeted if portion sizes remained the same and we have therefore had to take the difficult decision to provide half as much rice as we would usually provide maize - from 120g to 60g for primary pupils and from 80g to 40g for pre-school pupils.

It is a course of action we very much regret having to take - especially in the knowledge that meals at home are also being impacted by successive failed harvests and in the face of the rising cost of living - but we hope that it is only a temporary measure. However, we are not immune from rising costs of foodstuffs caused by geo-political and climate-related events and we cannot rule out that portion sizes will not return to normal levels in the short-term even once we are again able to provide maize.  

We remain resolutely committed to ensuring that each-and-every child in our partner schools receives a daily lunchtime meal of some kind.

*****

"On behalf of the entire Mkamenyi community I thank you for your efforts to improve the well-being of our children."

Mary, headteacher of Mkamenyi Primary School

*****

Management at Mkamenyi inspect the new kitchen
Management at Mkamenyi inspect the new kitchen
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With the support of the luxury childrenswear retailer Childrensalon, we will be expanding our ‘Feeding Minds’ school lunch programme from April to include the 600 pupils at our eighth partner school, Mkamenyi Primary.

Some eight years after the programme launched in a single school of 300 pupils, this expansion will see the programme providing a daily lunchtime meal to all 3,000 children across our network of partner schools.

To support this expansion, Childrensalon have chosen us as one of this year’s beneficiaries of a charity initiative that they started in 2020 as an alternative to Black Friday discounting and have made a donation to us of £50,000!

This is enough to fund the lunch programme for around two full academic years when added to annual grants and recurring monthly donations that we already receive, including via GlobalGiving.

The programme will be introduced at Mkamenyi from the start of the 2022 academic year in April once we have completed construction of the new kitchen and dining hall there, work on which began this week with the support of the RZK Foundation.

For a charity the small size of African Promise, a one-off donation of £50,000 is an absolute game-changer and gives us the peace of mind that we can continue this vital programme in a community where hunger and poverty are significant barriers to learning.

We hope you will share our excitement at this news and what it means for the charity and for the children across our partner schools whose lives and futures we strive every day to make brighter and better.

The proposed dining hall and kitchen at Mkamenyi
The proposed dining hall and kitchen at Mkamenyi
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Children enjoying lunch in a new dining hall
Children enjoying lunch in a new dining hall

The longest and most disrupted of academic years in Kenya has finally concluded with us having supplied food for around 392,000 lunchtime meals at a total cost of some £33,000.

In total between January 2020 and July 2021 we delivered more than 62,000 kilograms of dried foodstuffs (maize, rice and beans) to our seven partner schools currently supported by this programme, together with 2,100 litres of cooking oil and nearly 750kg of salt.

There is no rest however and the delayed 2021 academic year has already commenced after a break of just one week, with food for the first half of the 10-week term already having been delivered, much to the delight of headteachers and school management boards:

“Lots of appreciations to African Promise for the continued support of the feeding programme in our school.”

With a scheduled 20 weeks of term-time between now and the end of the calendar year, and schools once again operating at normal capacity, there will be significant demand on our resources in order to maintain a supply of the food needed for a substantial and nutritious daily lunch for every pupil over that period – we have estimated the cost at around £19,000.

Thank you to those of you that have supported this programme recently or do so on an on-going basis. Your support is helping us to get children back in the classroom when the lack of a meal in school could instead be another reason for families to keep them at home as they battle against the wider economic effects of the Covid pandemic.

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The Covid pandemic has shone a light on the critical importance of in-school meal programmes for children around the world.

Estimates from the children's charity Unicef suggest that more than 39 billion in-school meals have been missed globally since Covid forced schools to close their gates. Poverty and the economic impact of the pandemic mean that many of these will not have been replaced with equally nutritious meals at home.

In-school meals will play a key role in the post-Covid recovery and that is why we have prioritised our support of this programme in our partner schools since schools reopened in Kenya on a partial basis in October and for all pupils in January.

Anecdotal evidence from headteachers suggests that the guarantee of a daily lunchtime meal has been a key factor in attendances returning to close to 100% very rapidly following resumption of in-school learning. 

"I highly thank AP for the generous donation of food. May God bless the entire AP family."

****

As schools play catch-up following an absence from the classroom of up to 9 months for some pupils, there will be a scheduled 42 weeks of term-time in 2021 compared to 35 in a normal year. This will have obvious implications for the cost of providing a daily lunchtime meal to all pupils, especially as pupil numbers are also increasing as a result of local fee-paying schools permanently closing.

If you have not donated to this programme recently then now would be a great time to do so!! At the moment, the first donation of each new recurring monthly donation is being matched at 100% up to $200.*

To those of you that have supported this programme over the last few months we extend our sincere thanks for helping us to get children back in the classroom and ensuring that hunger and the absence of a meal is not a barrier to learning.

*****

*Terms & Conditions apply

Lunches supplemented with school-grown greens
Lunches supplemented with school-grown greens
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With schools in Kenya having partially reopened last week, we have taken the decision to resume our support of the lunch programme in our partner schools after a suspension of more than 7 months due to Covid.

Food is now on order for the remainder of the term (which is due to run until 23 December) for the 450+ class 4 & 8 pupils for whom learning has resumed and we expect that these children will again be receiving a hot lunchtime meal in school by the end of the month.

Because in some schools food will be cooked for as few as 20 pupils we have decided to exchange the maize that we usually provide for primary-aged pupils with rice which is normally only provided for pre-school pupils. This will be easier and quicker to cook in small volumes.

All cooks are required to wear full PPE under guidelines issued by the government and whilst we wait for the food to be delivered we will be working with our schools to source the necessary equipment, including protective gum boots, full overalls, gloves and face visors.

In line with our wider work to improve hygiene facilities across our partner schools, we will also be ensuring that there are easily accessible hand-wash facilities located adjacent to kitchens and dining halls.

Once the lunch programme is back up-and-running we will also be arranging for a distribution of foodstuffs to benefit those children still at home and not expected back in school before January (although, given the governments decision to reopen schools at less than one week's notice, this could change!). We have allocated approximately £2.50/$3.25 for each of the circa 2,000 children and expect the disbursement to include staples such as rice, flour and sugar.

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Organization Information

African Promise

Location: London - United Kingdom
Website:
Project Leader:
Charles Coldman
London, London United Kingdom
$18,915 raised of $41,804 goal
 
155 donations
$22,889 to go
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