Kenya: Free Milk Programme Increases School Enrolment in Meru - Kiraitu

19 February 2020

The Meru County government has so far spent over Sh100 million on a free milk programme for nursery school children since its inception two years ago.

Governor Kiraitu Murungi said the programme, which started in February 2018, has increased enrollment for Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) pupils across the county.

"We have so far spent Sh145 million giving milk to our children through the program and we hope to provide throughout the week, should we get more funds," the governor said.

He said once more money was allocated to counties in the proposed changes to the constitution, his administration would increase the frequency of the feeding programme from the current two days a week to daily.

Mr Murungi also asked the county assembly to ensure budget for the milk programme is not cut in the 2020/2021 financial year.

He spoke during the re-launch of the School Feeding and Nutrition Program at Gitoro Primary School on Tuesday which brought together partners, the Meru Dairy Cooperative Union and Tetra Pak Company.

On the roll out of the programme in 2018, the county assembly allocated Sh80 million with the rest of the money being allocated last year, feeding more than 5,000 nursery school pupils. Tetra Paks' representative Ms Stella Ondimu presented sample desks and waste disposal bins made using the recycled material.

Meru County Assembly Majority Leader Victor Kariithi said they would continue to support the programme that he noted was beneficial to children in some areas that had a poor background.

"We will continue supporting the programme at the assembly because we know it is playing a key role in keeping children in school, as well as other initiatives that will uplift the standards of our education," Mr Kariithi, who is the Atwana Ward MCA said.

The county government, Tetra Pak and Meru Dairy Cooperative Union announced a partnership in a project that will see the Tetra Pak collect packets and recycle them, making desks for school children. Meru Dairy chief executive officer Kenneth Gitonga said they would facilitate collection of the empty packs for recycling.

Finance manager at the processor Stephen Mwenda since the processor was contracted to supply milk, they put into place a team of distributors and a fleet of vehicles for the purpose.

"We have specific timelines for distributing the milk in all ECDs and ensure that each area is well covered. At the same time we also contract people who supply the product to all the centres," Mr Mwenda said.

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