Over 300 Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) centres across Mandera County will benefit from a free meals program that was officially launched at Elwak Municipality on Monday, January 30.

While launching the ECD policy and meals guideline with support from World Food Programme (WFP), Mandera Governor Mohamed Kalif said his administration will deliver fortified porridge worth Sh79 million.

"In total, we shall deliver fortified porridge worth Sh79 million, which will be delivered on a termly basis. The program will benefit over 27,000 learners in the 312 ECDE centres across our county," said the governor.

The program aims to reduce hunger and malnutrition hence improving education outcomes. In the drought-stricken area where rains have failed for the last four seasons.

The county government has urged school headteachers and management to strictly use the food for the intended purpose.

Mandera Governor Mohamed Kalif during the launch of ECDE School Meals at Elwak Municipality on January 30, 2023. [Ibrahim Adan Ali, Standard]

"As you are aware, the ongoing drought has reduced many of our community members into destitution. In many homes, children go to bed on an empty stomach. The school feeding program is a lifeline for most children. Therefore, school head teachers and management committees must ensure the food provided is strictly used for the intended purpose," said Governor Kalif.

"For us to ensure effective and efficient implementation, the department of education, DU and EMU are hereby instructed to develop a robust monitoring program for this project," he added

Kalif added that his administration will provide teaching and learning resources worth Sh38 million for all the institutions and that shall improve the quality of education provided in ECDE centres.

The county boss has appealed to members of the national assembly to prioritize investment in the physical infrastructure of the schools.

"I appeal to our members of parliament and NG-CDF managers to prioritise investment in the physical infrastructure of our schools, especially classrooms, water, and sanitation," he said

The governor also acknowledged a donation of Sh603 million to the county government from the World Food Program (WFP0.

"In addition, we are happy to receive material donations, including eight motorbikes from WFP, to support the department's monitoring work," he said

WFP Country Director, Ms Lauren Landis. [Ibrahim Adan Ali, Standard]

"Mandera County government has a plan in investing Sh1.2 billion in activities such as resilience markets food supply. I pledge WFP will contribute 59 per cent amounting to Sh603 million,” said WFP Country Director, Ms Lauren Landis, alongside the free feeding program.

The food supply program for all the ECDE centres will be delivered on a termly basis.