An award-winning initiative providing nutritious meals to needy children and their families has received a boost with assorted items including cooking oil, soap and biscuits donated by manufacturing company Pwani Oil.
5,000 children, unable to feed well due to Covid-19 disruption, will benefit from the donation through Food4Education, a non-profit organization providing subsidized meals to children from poor communities and their families. The items will be distributed/used to cook for the kids currently in school.
Food4Education was founded in 2012 by Kenyan entrepreneur, nutritionist, and philanthropist Wawira Njiru. It distributes subsidized nutritious meals to primary school children to improve learning outcomes in Kenyan public schools.
Pwani Oil has been supporting initiatives helping communities cope with the pandemic. Besides food items, the company has contributed millions of shillings toward the provision of hygiene essentials like soap, sanitizers, and handwashing kits to the public.
According to Pwani Oil Commercial Director Rajul Malde, the company teamed up with Food4Education as part of its ongoing campaign to build community resilience to the pandemic.
“Covid-19 has destabilized families and communities. We noted the good work Food4Education has been doing to help poor families cope and made a call to support this noble initiative,” said Mr. Malde.
He added Pwani has worked with various organizations in various Covid-19 related humanitarian initiatives as part of its social responsibility program.
On her part, Food4Education founder Wawira Njiru thanked Pwani Oil for the contribution saying it would alleviate the suffering of many families during this time.
“We urge other organizations to emulate Pwani’s gesture and continue assisting with making the lives of millions of children and their families more bearable during this challenging period,” said Ms. Njiru.
Food4Education has since inception distributed 5 million meals to primary school children and another 2 million via food packages and cash transfers to families hard hit by Covid-19.
The organization’s success as seen through the lens of improved nutrition, school attendance, and higher school transition rates among Kenyan children, led to Wawira receiving the first-ever Global Citizen Prize for Youth Leadership in 2018.
Food4Education uses an innovative hub-and-spoke model with a central kitchen where fresh food sourced directly from farmers is prepared to internationally recognized food safety standards. Parents pay Ksh15 for the subsidized lunches of rice, beans, vegetables, and chapati for their children using mobile money.
The organization also uses innovative technology like Tap2Eat, a smart wristband that makes it easier for parents to track and make payments for their children’s meals.
In Kenya, it is estimated that 29 percent of children in rural areas and 20 percent in urban areas suffer malnutrition.
According to the Borgen Project, an organization fighting global poverty, malnutrition not only exposes a child to illnesses but impairs their learning abilities. Hunger has psychological effects on children leading to behavioral problems like anxiety, depression, and withdrawal.
The partnership with Food4Education is the latest in a series of initiatives by Pwani Oil in support of the national effort against Covid-19 which includes a donation of 5.5 million kilos of soap to the Safe Hands Campaign.
Pwani also partnered with Kenya Pipeline Company to produce 104,000 liters of hand sanitizer for free distribution to Kenyans. The Mombasa-based manufacturer also supplied 122 handwashing kits and 70 cartons of soap to medical personnel in 11 counties and soap for use by ferry commuters.
Besides distributing food and hygiene items valued at over Ksh 1.5 million to 10,000 families in Kilifi County, the company has assisted 175 children in various children’s homes in the coastal region.