Food Program: Feed The Kids Program
TO VISIT OUR FOOD & NUTRITION PROGRAM SPONSOR CLICK ST.THERESE
The founder of this Organization originally came from this part of the world and so naturally, it was in his home area of Kituiuni Village in the Makueni County, in Kenya, where he started, in 1997, the initial pilot feeding program for nursery school children with only 35 kids. The Program, which was sponsored by his affiliates, the Christian Community of St. Therese, Succassunna, NJ USA, quickly grew so that, at its peak in around 2015, it had grown to 17 schools, with a total population of over 2,000 children participating in the Food & Nutrition Program.
The main objectives of the school feeding program were:
1. To mitigate the effects of drought by providing relief food
2. Ensure improved Health and Nutrition for orphaned and vulnerable children in the Area
3. Offer incentives for children to attend school; increase school enrollment and retention rates
A Survey Of the Program Found That:
i. The project was being implemented in 17 schools, feeding and an estimated 2,340 pupils were participating every year i.e:-15 schools in Kaiti constituency (Kilungu) and 2 in Kilome Constituency. The kids involved were the most vulnerable i.e Pre-primary school up to class 3.
ii. Each participating school received 120 kg of mixed (sorghum and millet) flour per term, at a total cost of KES 40,300, inclusive of project administration costs. When the calculations were done, it meant each pupil got a ration of around 1.4 kg a term, which was hardly enough to register huge nutritional impact although definitely far better than before the program was started. The reason cited was the funding not being adequate visa vis the extend of the need; over the years, it fluctuated a lot and often, the funds were not adequate to provide ample food rations for each participating child. Even many deserving kids did not participate in the program for the same reason. But in better years when the funds received went up, these food rations were a lot more than the study indicated.
iii. Majority of respondents felt the initiative was a good incentive for young children in the target classes to attend school and retain attendance. 87% of Beneficiary parents agreed that the feeding program has helped lessen their food burden. Most respondents felt that, the program should be extended to the other classes in the rest of schools, pointing to the level of poverty and food insecurity in the region. They also reiterated how the rations were meager for the hungry young ones and could be boosted.
iv. A level of cost sharing had been put in place, to the extend possible, since all the parents meet the small wage bill for the cook, and are responsible for firewood, water, and any other food preparation associated costs.
v. Some schools had incorporated orphaned pupils from upper classes into the feeding program to mitigate their plight.
vi. Teachers expressed concern that, transition to upper primary classes which do not participate in the Program was difficult for many pupils as they can no longer participated in the food program because they had advanced to the next class.
vii. Evidently, the feeding program went a long way in militating against the effects of poverty and perennial food shortage in the area.
viii. In some institutions, there were hygiene and food safety concerns given that some of the schools do not have proper kitchens and running freshwater supply; an hygienic concern for which KUSARD is trying to find support from their partners in order to address.
ix. There were also concerns that sometimes there was delay in delivering the food rations, but this was explained away by the Program Manager who said the remittances from overseas did not, sometimes arrive early enough before the schools opened, to procure the food supplies from the Vendors, but efforts were being made to remedy the situation.
THE KUSARD FOUNDATION had diversified from its Food and Nutrition Program Services to encompass other areas of need closely tied to the Food & Nutrition Program and one of these was education. The founder said, “…we saw this as one tool with which to fight poverty. Those children, in our Food program, once they were older, their needs changed and the most prevalent need which we often heard were requests for assistance with Tuition for those poor kids who would, otherwise drop out from continuing with their education unless they were supported financially”.
To this end, KUSARD strove very hard to assist those kids who were assessed to be in dire straits for Tuition Assistance under what was then duped as – “Sisi Ni Jamii” (i.e We are Family) Banner!
It should be noted that, in many African Countries like Kenya, Education is not free and only those who can afford its high cost can pursue their higher educational aspirations.