- Each child gets a cup of highly nutritious porridge every day.
- The porridge is prepared at a central place and transported to the centres to cut costs.
Pre-schoolers in Murang'a county are enjoying a nutritious cup of hot porridge under a programme launched by Governor Irungu Kang'ata.
All the 42,000 ECDE children get a cup of uji every day in school to complement their meals.
The programme was started to ensure children do not drop out of school because of hunger especially during dry seasons.
Governor Kang’ata said the Uji Programme ensures the children consume high quality porridge that has the necessary nutrients to support their growth and development.
He said the porridge is especially beneficial to children from poor families whose parents are unable to provide sufficient or a well-balanced diet.
The is being implemented in partnership with an NGO.
The programme was first piloted in select schools late last year before it was rolled out in all ECDE centres in February.
“Once we piloted the programme and parents gave us their views and the things they wanted improved, we were able to implement it in all centres,” the governor said.
He pledged to ensure there would be accountability for the porridge delivered to all public ECDE centres in the county.
The porridge is prepared at a central place before it is distributed to ECDE centres in a move Kang'ata said is aimed at reducing the programme’s running cost.
The porridge is put in sealed containers that are transported to the centres by boda boda operators.
Murang’a County Parents’ Association chairperson David Mwaura Mwangi underscored the the importance of the programme, saying some children miss school because of lack of food.
In other instances, parents are forced to take food to their children and have now been relieved of the burden.
The programme, he said, has seen more children enrolled in pubic ECDE centres as parents seek to take advantage of the free meal.
Moses Muchiri, Muguru MCA, said the county assembly supported the programme and passed the necessary legislations to ensure it is sustainable.
The MCA said they will continue to monitor it to ensure it is effectively implemented so that it can benefit the intended children.
At the same time, the county government has started a programme to improve ECDE centres in partnership with MCAs.
The initiative is being implemented under a community development programme through which MCAs consult their voters to list priorities to be implemented by the county administration.
The programme has seen ECDE centres upgraded and beautified with the aim of making them more conducive for pre-school learners.
The floors of the centres are fitted with terrazos while their walls are filled with beautiful paintings of animals and other learning materials.
“We sat down with MCAs and I urged them to prioritise ECDE centres most of which were in poor shape. We will ensure all ECDEs are so good that parents will prefer them to private ones,” Kang'ata said.