Slashing of school feeding programme funds will affect learners’ progress

Tonny Kyule

The recent government decision to slash the school feeding budget is poised to have severe repercussions on students nationwide. This move comes at a time when many families are already grappling with economic hardships, and food insecurity is a growing concern. For countless students, the meals provided at school are not just a supplement but often their primary source of daily nutrition.

School feeding programmes have long been recognized as a crucial component of the educational system. They ensure that students receive at least one nutritious meal a day, which is essential for their physical and cognitive development. Well-nourished children are more attentive in class, have better attendance records, and are more likely to achieve higher academic outcomes. Conversely, hunger can significantly impede a child’s ability to concentrate, retain information, and fully participate in educational activities.

The budget cuts will disproportionately affect low-income families who rely heavily on school meals to meet their children’s dietary needs. For these families, the loss of this support could mean the difference between having enough to eat and going hungry. This is particularly concerning in regions where poverty rates are high, and access to affordable, nutritious food is limited.


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Moreover, the timing of this decision exacerbates its impact. The economic fallout from the pandemic has left many families in precarious financial situations. With unemployment rates still higher than pre-pandemic levels and inflation driving up the cost of living, the reduction in school feeding programmes is an additional burden that many households simply cannot bear.

Beyond the immediate effects on students’ health and academic performance, the long-term consequences of increased food insecurity are profound. Poor nutrition during childhood can lead to a host of health issues, including stunted growth, weakened immune systems, and chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease later in life. By cutting the school feeding budget, the government is not only jeopardising the well-being of current students but also undermining the future potential of an entire generation.

It is imperative that policymakers reconsider this decision and recognize the essential role that school feeding programmes play in the overall health and success of students. Ensuring that every child has access to nutritious food is not just a matter of educational policy but a fundamental issue of equity and social justice. Investing in the health and well-being of children today is an investment in the future prosperity of our society.

By Tonny Kyule

Tonny Kyule, a student in Communication, Journalism and mMedia Studies Department, Rongo University in Migori County.

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