Annual feeding programme expenditure reaches record high

Despite only being two terms into the 2023 academic year we have already spent more this year on providing food for a daily lunchtime meal for every child in our partner schools than we’ve ever spent over a full year.

Some of the added expenditure can, of course, be accounted for by the fact that since April last year we’ve been providing food for around 25% more children after we included our eighth partner school, Mkamenyi Primary, and its 600 pupils in the programme.

However, even so, by the time this year is out we expect to have spent an eye-watering £65,000 on providing food, which would be double what we spent as recently as 2019 (the last ‘normal’ academic year before the disruption caused to the 2020, 2021 and 2022 school calendars by the Covid pandemic).

Without reducing portion sizes there is no easy way to control costs and though we did this for a time last year we are reluctant to do so on a permanent basis given that this meal remains a critical lifeline for so many children, especially so now when on-going drought and the persistent high cost of living is presenting so many challenges to putting food on the table at home for so many parents, guardians and carers.

Excitingly though, at our smallest partner school (by pupil roll) – Ngambenyi Primary – we have been supporting over the last few months the introduction and establishment of an organic kitchen garden.

Already, even in its infancy, this space is producing vegetables, leaves and greens that are being cooked with the core ingredients that we supply, adding much needed extra nutrition to meals. In time, we hope that this garden will also be able to produce items such as pulses/legumes which could be used to replace some or all of the beans that we provide, or items that can’t be used in meals but could be sold within or outside the community to generate an income which could then be used towards purchasing foodstuffs that cannot be grown (either at all or in sufficient quantity) or towards other school running costs for which the school is currently reliant on funding from parents, AP or other partners.

It is a development we are proud to be supporting and one which we hope could become a model for our other larger partner schools and others in the region. Watch this space!