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Kenya launches largest school feeding program in Africa

Kenya launches largest school feeding program in Africa
School children carry jerrycans filled with river water as they head back to school on August 17, 2009.   -  
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According to Save The Children, 26% of Kenyan children are suffering stunted growth due to malnutrition. At the launch of the initiative on Tuesday, President William Ruto highlighted the need to "eliminate the shame of hunger in our country".

The Kenyan capital of Nairobi is set to see the largest school meals program in Africa this August, aimed at eliminating the "shame of hunger" and providing daily lunches for scores of primary school children.

Beginning on August 28th, the first day of the autumn term, the school feeding program will see ten new kitchens providing 400 000 daily lunches for children in 225 primary schools and Early Childhood Development centers in Nairobi.

In Addition to feeding the kids, the initiative will also create employment opportunities for 3 500 people and a market for dozens of farmers. It’s a collaboration between Nairobi County and Food4educatuin, which already supplies meals to 150 000 primary schoolchildren in the city.

The government has allocated $36 million to increase the reach of the current national feeding program to 4 million children from 1.6 million, Ruto said. But he promised to increase the allocation if more counties contributed, promising to match shilling for shilling.

Apart from damaging their ability to learn, child hunger affects school enrollment and attendance too. The county has institutionalized the school feeding program owing to the link between nutrition and learning, said Suzanne Silantoi, Nairobi’s County executive.

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