Governor Natembeya launches free milk to over 41,000 ECDE learners

Trans Nzoia Governor George Natembeya distributes milk to ECDE learners during the launch of free milk programme at Township Primary on Tuesday April 2.

Trans Nzoia Governor George Natembeya on Tuesday April 3, launched free milk programme for over 41,000 learners in Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) centres to ‘eliminate the shame of hunger’.

The pre-primary school children will receive milk twice a week in their ECDE centres.

According to the county boss, the programme started on a pilot basis in 50 schools with aim of having the learners retained in schools to achieve the 100 per cent transition.

The Governor who spoke during the launch of the feeding programme at Township Primary School, said learners in 435 ECDE centres will be provided with the milk when schools resume for the Second Term.

He added that the KSh70 million initiative is a boost to the education sector while hammering breaks on malnutrition in homes.

According to the Governor, for almost all children in Endebess Sub-county are living with stunted growth due to Kwashokor.

Natembeya said: “We must eliminate the shame of hunger in our county. We will be deliberate and focused in ensuring successful implementation of the milk programme. The greatest indignity is for our children failing to go to school because of lack of food.”

He called for proper storage of the milk and asked heads centres to ensure that the milk is only for use at school.

“We are going to redouble allocation of funds in future to ensure that this programme runs without any hitches,” he said.

ECDE learners in Trans Nzoia enjoy sweetness of milk.

Captain Stanley Kirui, the County Executive of Education in the county, said that the programme was supposed to have kicked off January will ultimately lead to a 100 per cent transition.

Tuwan Ward Representative Francis Obingo Were said most school children in the county go without lunch and hailed the Governor for the move which he said will keep learners healthier.

Assembly Minority Leader Eric Wafula noted that child hunger also poses a significant obstacle to school enrolment and attendance in the expansive county.

“We recognise the critical link between nutrition and learning, and that is why the Governor is here today to fully institutionalise the school milk  programme. We expect improvement in attendance and performance in public schools,” said the Hospital ward representative.

The Minority Leader castigated some heads of primary schools and Junior Secondary Schools in the county that are  sending pupils away for lunch, uniform and other illegal forms of fees, saying those involved should reconsider quitting their lust.

Wafula now wants the concerned teachers to use bursary funds from the County Government to buy food for the learners.

The Governor also oversaw another launch of the programme at Kiminini Primary School.

By Osborne Benn

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