Many students in Kenya eat one meal or less daily.
Based on the World Health Organization’s minimum requirement for basic nutrition, we serve Kenyan schoolkids a lunch which consists of maize (corn) and beans cooked with some oil. Locally this is known as githeri, and is a staple part of the Kenyan diet.
Started with one school, in response to a severe drought that Kenya was experiencing in 2002, the program has grown to include 34 schools and approximately 18,000 students fed daily.
It’s almost impossible for a student to develop creativity, understanding and knowledge without eating daily. We’ve watched test scores rise and retention rates soar since introducing food into these schools.
Some other facts behind the program:
· The average Kenyan’s income is about $1/day
· The average Kenyan eats one meal per day
· The typical dropout rate in Kenyan elementary schools is 40-50%
· The vast majority of students quit schooling after grade 8, when free education ends
With our first pilot school, the dropout rate went from 46% to 1% once we started providing meals.
The hardest part of our work?
Nothing is more difficult than having to say “No” to headmasters of schools that know about our program and want to see their children fed and learning – with more funding, we can say “Yes” to more schools.