Health and nutrition have significant impact on the overall educational achievements of school-age children. Ensuring that children are well fed, healthy and able to learn is essential to the effectiveness of an education system. The main goal of the School Meals programme is to support the Government’s effort towards attainment of Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Education For All (EFA). It has become a significant strategy for reaching marginalized communities, especially girls in the ASAL districts. The programme has helped to increase enrolment, prevent drop-out and stabilize attendance at assisted pre-primary and primary school.
There are two types of School Meals Programme
1.1 Regular School Meals Programme (SMP)
The Regular programme involves the physical distribution of food commodities to schools; the bulk of the food is imported though there are certain cases when food is procured locally especially cereals. The Regular SMP is implemented with support of World Food Programme (WFP) and provides mid-day meal to 650,000 pre-primary and primary school children in 45 sub-counties within Arid and Semi Arid Lands (ASALs) and schools in the informal settlements of Nairobi.
1.2 Home Grown School Meals (HGSM) Programme
To ensure long term sustainability of the School Meals Programme there was need to move from externally assisted programmes to a nationally supported programme. Therefore the idea of a Home Grown School Meals Programme (HGSMP) was conceived in 2009. It was subsequently agreed that 50,000 pupils will be offloaded annually from the Regular SMP to the Home Grown SMP as part of the transition arrangement. The amount of money disbursed depends on the school enrolment and funds available. Disbursement is done as per the number of learning days in a term. The programme targets 906,000 school going pupils in the semi arid regions.