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School food plan wins global innovation award as it scales up its reach

 Food for Education founder Wawira Njiru during the award ceremony at Skoll World Forum. [Courtesy]

School feeding programme Food for Education (F4E) says it has scaled up its reach and impact more than 10 times in the last year alone.

This follows the launch of their 60,000 meal-a-day capacity green Giga Kitchen, which has increased the number of monthly meals produced from 315,000 in January 2023 to 3.8 million in January 2024.

According to the organisation’s quarterly donor report F4E has served more than 40 million meals to date and has scaled 30 times since 2020 to provide the most affordable school meal in Kenya.

These latest numbers come as F4E Founder and Chief Executive Wawira Njiru was awarded the Skoll Award for Social Innovation on the organisation’s behalf at this year’s Skoll Forum in Oxford, the United Kingdom last week.

The award recognises leadership and innovation in the social sector with an emphasis on driving transformational change and sustainable impact at scale.

“As we enter a new phase of what has been a tremendously fundamental and fulfilling journey of impact, we are immensely honoured to be recognised for creating and scaling a uniquely African solution to a global challenge – feeding nutritious, affordable meals to public school children every day,” said Ms Njiru.

“We are driven by an insatiable ambition to ensure no child has to learn on a hungry stomach and we thank our donors, partners, and parents for sharing in our vision. Collectively, these awards are a vote of confidence in our locally rooted, scalable, and replicable school-feeding blueprint and business model."

The surge in F4E’s delivery comes as more African nations recognise the potential value of the $156 billion (Sh20.2 trillion) school feeding economy. Yet, every day, millions of children arrive at school to face the sobering reality of classroom hunger.

There are over 400 million children in Africa, yet approximately 90 per cent lack a minimally appropriate diet and more than 50 per cent don’t eat at recommended frequencies.

In Kenya alone, 60 per cent of children do not receive adequate nutrition. Globally, school feeding programmes are a proven and effective solution to classroom hunger but in Africa, existing programs are typically dependent on foreign agencies that rely on bulk and processed foods and offer limited consideration of local context, communities, or supply chains.

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