KENYA – The Kenyan government in Kiambu County, under the leadership of Governor Kimani Wamatangi, has initiated a free milk feeding programme named ‘Maziwa Freshi na Wamatangi’ for all public nursery schools within the county.

According to the Governor, the programme aims to provide essential nutrition to over 36,000 children in Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) centres, with each child receiving a packet of milk every Thursday.

During the programme’s launch, Governor Wamatangi emphasized the critical role of nutrition in laying the foundation for children’s success and prosperity in the future.

“In a world where malnutrition continues to hinder the potential of millions of children the provision of free milk is one of the ways to address such challenges,” Wamatangi said.

“The introduction of free milk aims to create a conducive learning environment where children are not only nourished but also eager and happy to attend school.”

Governor Wamatangi noted the significance of addressing malnutrition challenges, stating that free milk provision is a step towards tackling such issues effectively.

According to the World Food Programme (WFP), food security and nutrition are key challenges in Kenya with malnutrition levels at 29% for children in rural areas while 205 of those living in cities are stunted. 

Additionally, according to UNESCO, school enrolment rates still remain a challenge at 75%, although there has been some improvement in recent years.

There exists a strong link between the dairy industry and the education sector. Besides providing quality nutrition to pupils in schools, milk provides incomes to parents who are then able to pay school fees and meet other educational obligations,” Anthony Ian Mutugi, Chairman of the Kenya Dairy Board said.

Meanwhile, the International Dairy Federation reveals that school milk programs around the world have demonstrated that they can improve school attendance and nutrition, and strengthen the local dairy value chain.

To tackle malnutrition, and increase school enrolment rates, local county governments worked in collaboration with the Kenya Dairy Board and local dairy processors to initiate school milk programs in five counties across Kenya, covering 1,767 schools.  

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