Food prices reach record high

The cost of providing a lunchtime meal to children in our partner schools has risen by around 50% since the start of the year amid soaring prices for basic foodstuffs in Kenya.

Food prices are now at their highest level in the nearly 10 years we have been providing food for our partner schools, with the price of some items including maize and cooking oil having doubled in 12 months, both as a result of the on-going drought in East Africa and the conflict in Ukraine./p>

In January we forecast that the cost of the lunch programme for the 2022 academic year would be just under £31,000 but our latest projections put that figure closer to £45,000.

We do not currently have plans to reduce portion sizes – as we did temporarily earlier in the year when we were faced with the unavailability of maize – as for many children in our partner schools during this time of drought and high cost of living the meal they receive at school is their only guaranteed meal of the day, as explained by former headteacher of a number of our partner schools and adviser to the charity, Nicholas Mutui:

“The children and parents (at Mkamenyi Primary) are very grateful for everything, including the lunch programme. Can you believe that some children are eating at school only?! I want to sincerely thank you, African Promise, and your donors for the support.”

In addition to the challenges of rising food prices – which thankfully appear to have stabilised in recent weeks – our schools have also had to deal with last minute changes to the school calendar as a result of the recently concluded national elections which resulted in a scheduled two-day half-term being repeatedly extended to a total of 2 weeks. To ensure that children did not miss out on the lunch they would have otherwise have received at school and given that food had already been supplied for this period, the majority of our schools responded by cooking lunch in school for those chilren that needed it or sharing food with parents/children to be cooked at home.