Kenya, like several other countries in the horn of Africa, has now faced several successive droughts due to severe rainfall deficits since March 2016. According to UNICEF 3.4 million people in Kenya, among them 1.6 million children, are food insecure and 3.5 million people are in urgent need of safe drinking water. In response to this the Salvation Army is supporting several primary schools to provide meals for school children. For many of the kids it might be the only meal they eat all day long. Their parents keep planting maize, beans and vegetables but the lack of rain means no harvest… again. They are grateful that at least their children will not go to bed hungry.
In an effort to link relief activities with ongoing development activities the school feeding programme runs alongside a longer-term WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene promotion) programme. The schools had received support with the installation of water harvesting systems and energy efficient stoves, which now enable the schools to cook the daily meals. In addition to food and water support the programme also built latrines and set up hand-washing stands. The hygiene support, water and school meals have significantly contributed to children’s health and well-being and teachers report a decrease in absenteeism and improved school performance.
I am proud of my colleagues in Kenya who are running and managing these projects; activities that are definitely having an impact in many children’s lives.