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Dishi na County here to stay, Sakaja assures amid plans by State to scrap programme

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The governor highlighted that the construction of seven additional central kitchens is at an advanced stage which upon completion will benefit, 310,000 pupils.

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja has announced that the Dishi na County school feeding programme will still be implemented in the next financial year.

This is despite the National Government's proposal to have a school feeding programme in the FY 2024-2025.

In a statement on Tuesday night, Sakaja assured parents and learners of the capital that the programme which is currently benefiting 200,000 pupils will continue.

"Nairobi parents and children; worry not. Dishi na County school feeding programme remains on. Over 200,000 children are now enlisted and will continue to eat daily," he affirmed.

The governor highlighted that the construction of seven additional central kitchens is at an advanced stage which upon completion will benefit, 310,000 pupils.

On Tuesday, Members of the National Assembly caused uproar after the National Treasury proposed to scrap off the allocation to school feeding programme

The MPs however, expressed fears that if implemented it would affect 4.5 million learners nationwide.

The programme was allocated Sh4.9 billion in the current financial year, which is part of the Kenya Kwanza government's Sh3.6 trillion 2023-24 Budget.

However, the Ministry of Education appealed for Sh1 billion extra in the supplementary budget.

During the 2022 pre-election campaigns, President William Ruto endorsed a proposal to implement a school feeding programme in all public primary schools countrywide.

President William Ruto sharing a meal with pupils at Roysambu Primary School during the launch of the Nairobi School Feeding Programme on June 20, 2023. (Photo: Nairobi City County Government)

A school feeding programme has already been rolled out in Dagoretti South.

Endorsing the idea, Ruto earlier said the Kenya Kwanza government will implement the project in schools across the country.

County allocation

In Nairobi, Sakaja in his first budget for 2023-24, allocated Sh1.2 billion towards the feeding programme.

Ten central kitchens for the programme have been constructed since June 2023.

They are located in Dagoretti North, Embakasi Central, Embakasi South, Kasarani, Kibra, Makadara, Starehe, Roysambu, Ruaraka, and Westlands sub-counties.

The kitchens are stationed in Baba Dogo Primary School, Bidii Primary School, Kwa Njenga Primary, Farasi Lane Primary, Muthangari Primary, Kayole One Primary, Njiru Primary, Toi Primary, Roysambu Primary and Racecourse Primary.

Last year in July, Governor Sakaja signed an intergovernmental partnership agreement with the national government on the implementation of a school meal plan in Nairobi.

The Sh1.7 billion agreement set forth the terms of understanding between the parties in the implementation of the school meals programme in public primary schools in Nairobi.

Some Sh500 million was allocated to building seven more kitchens and the rest to subsidise the cost of a plate for each child

The kitchens mark the third phase of the initiative, aiming to provide meals to schoolchildren across Nairobi.

According to the governor, upon completion, each sub-county in Nairobi will have its own central kitchen.

The seven schools selected for phase three of the kitchens are Dandora 1 Primary School (Embakasi East), Donholm Primary School (Embakasi North), Mutuini Primary School (Dagoretti South), Uhuru Gardens Primary School (Langata), Ndururuno Primary School (Starehe), Umoja 1 Primary School (Embakasi West), and Zawadi Primary School (Kamkunji).

Once operational, these kitchens are expected to significantly expand the reach of the Dishi Na County programme, increasing the number of schoolchildren benefiting from 184,000 to over 310,000 across public primary schools and Early Childhood Development Centres in Nairobi.

Parents are only required to pay Sh5 per learner daily, with the remainder of the costs being covered by the County Government of Nairobi.

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