Mumbai: The impact of Akshaya Patra Foundation which is the implementing partner of the Government of India’s PM Poshan Program, is continuing cause of providing free classroom meals across India has touched African shores – the Nairobi City County Government, Kenya, which is all set to feed its disadvantaged school-going children with the learning extracted from the Indian not-for-profit organization.
As a first step towards implementing this program, a top-level delegation from Kenya visited The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s kitchen in Ahmedabad at Gandhinagar, to understand the operations and the quality being maintained in producing over 1 lakh meals from this centralized mega-kitchen. The delegation included His Excellency Mr. James Njoroge Muchiri, Nairobi City County Government Deputy Governor, Ms. Ruth Owuor, Chief Officer Education, Gender, and Social Services, Nairobi, the Capital of Kenya, Mrs. Joyce Kinyanjui, Director, Intergovernmental Relations, Eng. Charles Gathara, Deputy Director of Water, Sanitation & Energy, Mr. Hibrahim Otieno, Deputy Director, Environment, Mr. Frankwel Wambugu, Personal Assistant to His Excellency and Ms. Ceverene Mureithi, Head of People & Strategy at Food for Education Foundation.
Speaking about his visit, His Excellency Mr. James Njoroge Muchiri, Nairobi City County Government Deputy Governor, said, “Over 60% of the children in Nairobi County are living in the informal settlement where their parents can barely afford one nutritious meal a day Leading to a rise in stunting, wasting, and malnutrition among children. Towards this end, the National government and the Nairobi City County Government have both captured the school meal program as part of their manifesto taking cognizance of the fact that a nutritious school meal has several benefits both to the underprivileged children and their parents. Nairobi County Government is keen to provide a hot meal for its Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) and Primary School going children in order to mitigate the aforementioned issues, as well as increase the enrolment, retention, transition and performance in basic education. Hence, the need to act is urgent and this can’t be done alone. We need support from foundations like The Akshaya Patra Foundation and the Kenya-based Food for Education, which have proven expertise in executing large-scale sustainable feeding programs. My visit here marks the first step towards this collective fight against securing our children’s future.”
Echoing his views, Mr. Anant Arora, Chief Sustainability and Communication Officer, The Akshaya Patra Foundation said, “We understand what it is like to fight socio-economic challenges at a scale with frugality and innovation. In a global world a challenge faced by one nation has ripple effects across continents. Which is why attaining the Sustainable Development Goals, like Zero Hunger, will need collective action. While multilateral organizations and governments are doing their best, launching grassroots Private-Public Partnerships can go a long way in addressing this problem. This exchange of information and learning, not only helps the Kenyan government but also helps us to accelerate our fight against classroom hunger. We are keen to assist more nations.”
The knowledge exchange between the foundation and key decision makers from Kenya is a result of discussions, led by Food for Education, Kenya’s renowned school-feeding social enterprise, founded by Ms. Wawira Njiru.
An enthusiast for studying public nutrition programs and launching grassroots campaigns to fight hunger as well as malnutrition, Ms Njiru, along with her team in May 2022, had visited the foundation to learn about the PM Poshan Scheme for which Akshaya Patra is an implementing partner. The scheme initiated by the Indian government is also the world’s largest school meal program.