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Brief on the School Meals Programme in Kenya

  1. The School Meals Programme in Kenya was started in 1980 after the country was hit with a severe drought. The programme was started by the Ministry of Education with the support of the World Food Programme, to encourage enrolment and retention of children in school. The programme started with 240,000 learners.
  1. By the 1990s, the number of children in the School Meals Programme had steadily expanded, with the Government committing to meeting 50% of the cost of land transport, storage and handling of the food commodities.
  1. Since 2018, the Programme has been handed over fully to the Government. At present, 2.6 million children are benefitting from the School Meals Programme, covering all 47 counties. The programme is run by the Ministry of Education through the National Council for Nomadic Education in Kenya, (NACONEK).
  1. The programme includes three modalities to address context specific needs:
  • The in-kind model which provides food to schools. This covers learners in 11 arid counties.
  • The homegrown model under which budgets are provided to schools to acquire food from local suppliers, thus boosting small scale farmers and local economies. This covers learners in 25 counties.
  • The other scope for the SMP includes Special Needs Education Learners, Learners in the urban informal settlements, counties with high out of school children and the refugee learners.
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