In Kenya, Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) is an education system designed for children aged between three and six years old. This is the foundation of education, offered in both private and public schools to promote cognitive development through a curriculum that provides play-based learning, socialization, and an exploration environment. In Murang’a County, there are 676 public ECDE centres with 42,000 learners from diverse backgrounds.Though most parents can afford three meals a day to feed their children, there are those who still struggle to provide food. With escalating cases of drought in some places like in Ithanga constituency, most parents are unable to keep their children in school. To encourage school attendance and support parents, the County Government of Murang’a started the ECDE feeding programme. Through this programme, the County partnered with Food for Education to provide nutritious porridge to all ECDE learners in public schools. Previously, during the onboarding stage of the programme there were questions about the safety of the porridge with some parents choosing to pack home-cooked food for their children. To address these challenges, the County Government embraced cooking of porridge in one ECDE centre then distributing it to other areas by Bodaboda bikes. Each ECDE centre has a Uji champion, a parent to one of the pupils responsible for tasting the porridge to ensure safety for consumption.
Implementation of the practice (Solution Path):
- The County Government of Murang’a first started by advertising tenders, a call for submission of documents from any organization that qualified to facilitate the ECDE feeding programme.
- Food for Education Organization (the Organization) submitted their documents for vetting and evaluation by the team of selected members from the Education and Procurement Department at the County.
- The Organization won the bid and proceeded to conduct a pilot project from 2nd October 2022 to 19th February 2023 in Mt Olive ECDE, Kakuzi Mitumbiri Ward.
- The pilot project included cooking porridge for the school and identifying a specific ECDE Centre at a central position in every ward where the cooking and packaging of the porridge would be happening during the County project roll-out.
- The Members of County Assembly proposed bodaboda riders and cooks while the school parents were requested to identify a fellow parent, an uji champion to ensure the seals on the delivery buckets are not tampered with. This was strategized for quality assurance.
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