- The ECDE feeding project will gobble Sh30 million while the bursary programme will take up Sh117,800,000.
- The meals programme, Otuoma said, will provide an opportunity for most children to access at least a single meal in a day.
The Busia government has launched a feeding programme for Early Childhood Development Education learners in what Governor Paul Otuoma on Thursday said will increase ECDE enrolment besides increasing school retention rates in the county.
The ECDE feeding project will gobble Sh30 million while the bursary programme will take up Sh117,800,000.
The school feeding scheme, according to the county chief, will entail the provision of a hot nutritious meal at school for ECDE learners as his administration races towards improving education standards while the bursary programme will ensure learners from humble backgrounds do not halt their quest for education due to lack of school fees.
The meals programme, Otuoma said, will provide an opportunity for most children to access at least a single meal in a day.
The meal provided, Otuoma said, is healthy enough to meet the learners’ daily nutritional requirements.
Dubbed, ‘Otuoma Nutri-CAare’, the project is one of the former Funyula MP’s interventions aimed at reducing acute forms of malnutrition.
He said it will allow ECDE learners to thrive.
“In essence, this programme marks the turning point for our 50,000 ECDE learners in over 460 public educational centres following the launch of the school feeding programme. It is further anticipated that an increase in school enrollment and retention of learners in schools will be realised,” Otuoma said while launching the programme at Busia Polytechnic.
“My administration has set aside Sh30 million to implement this noble programme. It is indeed disheartening that United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) statistics show that almost 15 per cent of children in Busia county face the challenge of stunted growth because of malnutrition.”
The project, besides addressing nutritional demands for ECDE learners and improving school enrollment is also anticipated to support the agriculture sector since the rice and beans that will be supplied to ECDE institutions will be sourced locally.
The governor said through the Ward-Based Economic Revitalisation Programme, the county envisages creating a linkage with the farmers to support them to produce enough food for consumption and equally generate income for farmers.
“To this effect, we have engaged Magombe Multi-purpose Cooperative Society and Bumamu rice farmers, respectively, in Budalang’i constituency to support them in rice production for our ECDE school feeding programme at very pocket-friendly prices,” the governor said.
Otuoma said the Sh117,800,000 million bursary scheme was among campaign pledges he made ahead of the 2022 general elections where he promised residents his administration in case he was elected governor would spring up education standards in the county.
Among the pioneer beneficiaries of the scheme are Felix Odhiambo from the Butula subcounty and Michelle Imelda from Teso North constituencies who joined Form One at Kolanya Girls National School.
Present during the launch included chief executive committee members Beatrice Nakholi (Education), Olakacuna Omuse (Trade and Cooperatives), Olunga Ekweny (Sports and Culture) and Andrew Nakitare (Roads and Transport).
Others were County Secretary Oscar Juma, the Chairman, the County Public Service Board Michael Onyura, representatives from development partners, Chief Officers and MCAs.
Millicent Ochola, the National School Feeding Programme Coordinator was also present.