The High Court has declined to suspend the implementation of the school feeding program by Nairobi County and the National Government.
Justice Mugure Thande stated that issuing temporary orders would not be in the best interest of the child.
In a reassuring move, Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja has affirmed that the school feeding program for over 250,000 primary school students will persist.
“I want to assure the parents that I will fight for this program till the end. We are caring for the less fortunate in Nairobi We have given hope to parents with the assurance that children will eat in school even though they might not get food at home,” Governor Sakaja said.
The judge highlighted that although its legality has been challenged, the best interest of the child should prevail.
Governor Sakaja also announced that the construction of kitchens by 289 men and women would proceed, and an additional 2,000 people would be hired to cater to the program’s needs. Ten new kitchens, which are under construction, are targeted to provide 400,000 daily lunches for children in 225 primary schools within Nairobi county.
He urged the petitioners to avoid stopping the program due to selfish interests. A lobby group, Tunza Mtoto Coalition Kenya, had moved to court seeking to stop the implementation of the Sh501 million school feeding program in Nairobi County.
They argued that the program was illegal as education is a National Government function, and there was no legal notice authorizing the county to provide meals to children in public schools.
The group highlighted that the money allocated for the program would be spent illegally on a function not within the county’s devolved unit of government.
The school feeding program is a collaboration between Nairobi County and Food4Education, which already supplies meals to 150 000 primary school children in the city.
Food4Education is a non-profit organisation which was started in 2012 by Kenyan nutritionist Wawira Njiru with the aim of providing balanced meals to school-going children.