Education Cabinet Secretary Hon. Ezekiel Machogu accompanied by PS Basic Early Learning and Education Dr. Julius Jwan on Tuesday responded to the Senate committee questions on matters school feeding programme especially in Arid and Semi-Arid areas in across the country.
The CS advised the committee that Ministry will provide a long term solution on meals policy and criteria for provision of certified food to learners. CS will spearhead for Inter-ministerial collaboration with Ministry of Water, Environment and Agriculture to address the climate change
The Senate demanded to know how the Ministry of Education spent Ksh.873 million meant for the school feeding program.
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu told the Senate Education Committee that the ministry has so far spent the said amount in giving food aid to various schools affected by drought.
According to the ministry, Ksh.201 million has been used to give cash transfers to various schools, Ksh.607 million to buy food, while a further Ksh.54 million has been used to transport the food to the counties of Turkana, Samburu, Garisa, Wajir, Marsabit, Isiolo, Tana River Mandera and West Pokot.It compromises of rice worth Ksh.457 million, beans worth Ksh.115 million, vegetable oil worth Ksh.43 million and salt worth Ksh.2 million for the last one month in the ten counties,” said CS Machogu.
The revelation was however questioned by members of the committee who said no such program has been witnessed in schools in their counties.
“I am now becoming extremely skeptical about this program, the very counties that have been ravaged by drought are not on the list. I am also very skeptical because your list does not show if the schools got the food, this is a list showing the requirements of the school, can you tell us where the taxpayers’ money has gone?” Posed the committee Vice Chair, Peris Tobiko.
“I wonder where you are taking this food, and how you decide this school needs cash transfers and the other school will need food relief. All the Senators have said that this program is not in their counties, you are insisting it is happening, but we are not seeing it on the ground, where is it?” Nominated Senator Margaret Kamar posed.
CS Machogu however assured the Senators that they had ways of tracking the food to the school level.
“The system we have is that it goes to the sub-counties and it’s received by two people, the sub-county Education Director and the Deputy County Commissioner. Of course, we have a system that notifies us if the food has been received, then it is now distributed to various needy schools,” he stated.
Secretary to the National Council of Nomadic Education, Harun Yusuf, who is currently in charge of the school feeding programme, said they had difficulties due to high prices of foodstuff forcing some of the suppliers to return the LPOs due to stringent price controls.
“For the Ministry of Education to feed the 1.6 million children for one year, we require Ksh.3.6 billion against Ksh.1.9 billion that we have been given…this year we intend to feed 3 million children, we require Ksh.6.9 billion, so we have that serious shortfall,” said Yusuf