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Porridge for education program credited with higher retention rates in Isiolo, Samburu and Garissa

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The ‘Porridge for Education’ programme has been hailed as a major game changer resulting in higher enrollment and retention of pupils.

The programme is currently being piloted among learners in Grades 1, 2 and 3 in Isiolo, Samburu and Garissa by the Ministry of Education, through the National Council for Nomadic Education in Kenya (NACONEK).

Speaking at Mwangaza Primary School in Isiolo County during an assessment tour of the programme, various stakeholders who have partnered with the Ministry of Education in the initiative noted that the impact brought about by the program during the pilot phase that began in July last year was clear, and that there was need for it to be rolled out across other parts of the country.

According to Tetrapak East Africa Managing Director Jonathan Kinisu, the product that has been dubbed “Super Porridge” has proved efficient for early learners as it aids their development due to its wealth of nutritional content, while its production and proper packaging gives it a shelf life of at least six months, further making it suitable for the project.

Ingredion’s Director for Africa and the Middle East Ken Ouma said  the program, which began with only 5,000 learners has been upscale to reach 50,000 learners, with a view to benefitting more than 2.4 million children by 2025.

Mwangaza Primary School head teacher Abdulrizak Ali Demo attributed the increase in enrollment and retention of early learners in school to the success of the project, noting that children no longer miss school unlike when the program was not rolled out.

The Porridge 4 Education program is an initiative of NACONEK that has brought together national and international partners who are in the school meals and nutrition space, to develop the first of its kind fortified composite ready to drink porridge administered to pupils in the ASAL counties, pockets of poverty counties, and urban informal settlements.

Bruno Mutunga and Mary Muthoni
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