Food4Education program changing lives

Established in her hometown of Ruiru, Kenya, Food4Education is an organisation that ensures school children get the right food to keep their minds sharp. Wawira speaks about her mission,

“Serving people nourishment is in my point of view very sacred because it helps people. Their bodies function, their minds function, them being able to work and being able to be productive. I make sure that no student has to learn on an empty stomach.”

Wawira studied nutrition at university. She explains how this taught her the importance of food for health and wellbeing,

“I love food because I think food brings people together and food is nourishment. And studying my undergrad in nutrition, I learned the impact of good nutrition on health and wellbeing, and also the impact of bad nutrition, and learning that food plays a really critical role in how we feel how, we’re able to move, how we’re able to have our place in the world.”

The Kenyan Government estimates that over a quarter of children have stunted development due to malnutrition. Wawira believes improving this situation would be beneficial for the entire continent,

“This being a big crisis in Kenya and around Africa where a lot of kids are not getting the right nutrition has a direct impact on Kenya’s ability to grow and Kenya’s future and Africa’s future being able to contribute to the economy of the world.”

The team at Food4Education currently makes 10,000 lunches every day. Planning to ensure these meals are all hot and ready to go at the same time is a big task. Wawira discusses the process,

“Our meals are produced in a central kitchen and then we distribute them to the schools. Currently, we distribute them to 13 schools scaling to more schools this year with the goal of reaching 100,000 kids each day.”

One of the biggest problems facing the organisation was how to protect children’s lunch money. Working with tech companies, Wawira came up with an innovative wristband, Tap2Eat, linked to a mobile money service. She explains the technology,

“Parents are able to make micropayments to the meals and they do this to contribute 15 cents to every meal that a child eats. So, they tap on a mobile device so once they do that we are able to ensure that the 15 cent contribution has been made and once that is done the child can have lunch.”

Feeding the nation’s schoolchildren can be an overwhelming job, but Wawira says seeing children happy keeps her motivated,

“Once they’ve come with an empty lunchbox and they’ve filled it up, you see their face light up. That is something that makes you think wow I am on the right track and there is nothing else I’d rather be doing with my life.”

 

 

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