11 September 2013

Kenya: Hunger Shuts Down Turkana Schools

More than 15,000 children have dropped out of school due to lack of food in Turkana. Transport hitches and shortage of funding has disrupted Turkana schools feeding programme.

Feeding programmes in the region are funded by government and donors. Education director in Turkana Nicodemus Anyang yesterday said many children have not reported to schools since the begin of the third term due to delays in distribution of relief food.

The World Food Programme has suspended distribution of relief food to schools in parts of Turkana due to inaccessibility. "We have had challenges in reaching many of the schools because of poor roads and insecurity," said Anyang on the phone.

More than 40,000 children especially those in Early Childhood Development schools are usually supported through the ECD programmes.

Anyang yesterday said they have asked the county government to improve the roads so that the WFP and other agencies can continue to fight help children in the arid region

WFP usually gives out the food rations every beginning of the term. It has however not been possible to give out the food rations to some schools this term.

Anyang said most roads in the region were damaged by the heavy rains and need to be repaired urgently. "The governor has been vey positive that the roads will be repaired so that the children can resume learning," said Anyang.

He said the region has an enrolment rate of about 130,000 children in pre-primary schools. "We have struggled to increase the enrolment rates and we should not allow it to decline," said Anyang.

The programme has been going on for many years and the county government plans to expand it. Meanwhile Eight schools in Baringo are yet to reopen for third term due to effects of floods.

However Baringo county commissioner Bernard Leparamarai says the floods have began subsiding and the schools will re-open soon.

The primary schools which have not re-open include Salabani, Ngambo, Kiserian and Salabani secondary schools. "The situation is still bad in Ngambo and Salabani locations where most families have been displaced but we are hopping the floods will decline in the next few days," said human rights activist Harun ole Mpaka.

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