The Free Pentecostal Fellowship In Kenya Church through its food distribution programme is helping school-going children in Turkana South Constituency in Turkana County stay in class and continue with education.
Also through the programme, families are living another day without hunger.
The county is among the over 20 Arid and Semi-Arid Lands(ASAL), where over 5 million people are facing extreme hunger, and children suffering from acute malnutrition due to the ongoing drought and are therefore in dire need of food and water.
The school and households food distribution is part of the Church’s Emergency Response and Humanitarian Assistance Programme, which is also supported by International Aids Services (IAS) Denmark, is worth Sh29 million (Sh17 million and Sh12 million for the first and second phases) respectively including overhead costs.
It started in November 2021 Phase One and ended in April 2022. The second Phase started in June 2022 and will go up to December 15, 2022.
The first phase saw 21 schools in Kalapata Ward, Turkwel, and Kerio Delta Wards, and 1,350 households benefit.
In the second phase, 16 schools in Kalapata Ward and 450 households are receiving food donations.
The donations to households include 10kgs of maize and 2kgs of beans after every three weeks.
For schools, it depends on the population of pupils and it’s done once per month. In the first and second phases, the donation has been done 12 times.
The highest population of schools (400 pupils and above), receive 4 bags of 90kgs maize, 4 bags of 40kgs beans, 10 liters of cooking oil, and 4kgs of salt.
According to Joan Lusweti, project leader/humanitarian coordinator of FPFK Turkana Drought Response, the food program has increased school enrolment and decreased the rate of absenteeism in schools hence improving education in Turkana County.
“The national exam results done at the beginning of the year improved,” she adds.
n Turkana County, she says the motto is “No food No school” and when this school food program ends on December 15, it will be unfortunate.
“Children will stop going to school, hence deprived of their right to education, which is fundamental in shaping their future. I pray that other partners will come in and help us continue with this program to ensure the Turkana children get an education just like any other children in Kenya. This will shape the future of Turkana for the better,” says Ms. Lusweti.
It’s not only food distribution that the programme is doing but also water rehabilitation and sensitizing the affected communities on Gender-Based Violence(GBV) and supply dignity kits since GBV skyrockets during such disasters.
“In the first phase, we did water tracking for 11 schools and in the second phase we have just done rehabilitation of 7 water points both for schools and households,” said Ms. Lusweti.
She said water rehabilitation involves repairing worn-out water pumps and water troughs for animals and piping.