Food for Education, a key player in school nutrition, has recently expanded its meal program to five Kenyan counties, aiming to feed 350,000 children daily. This initiative, doubling last year’s outreach, focuses on providing healthier meals to children in various areas, including urban and rural regions. The organization’s infrastructure includes a mix of kitchen types, with the recent addition of eight centralized kitchens in Nairobi under the Dishi na County program.
Wawira Njiru, the founder of Food for Education, emphasizes the central role of these kitchens in efficiently delivering nutritious meals to a larger number of students. The program also boosts local economies by creating about 3,000 jobs, simultaneously tackling childhood hunger and generating employment.
A highlight of this initiative is the introduction of Tap2Eat, a groundbreaking digital platform. This technology, leveraging advanced financial technology, offers a swift and easy way for public primary school students to access affordable meals. Parents can use mobile money, a widely used system in Kenya, to make small payments towards school lunches. These payments go into a virtual wallet linked to a smart wristband with Near Field Communication [NFC] technology. Students can then use this wristband to ‘tap to eat’ in less than five seconds.
Njiru notes that Tap2Eat not only streamlines the meal access process but also aligns with Food for Education’s vision to enhance the well-being and academic experience of children. Since its establishment, Food for Education has provided 31 million meals and, with this expansion, aims to serve over 60 million meals this year. This effort is part of the organization’s broader mission to create a sustainable, nourished learning environment and to lay the groundwork for scaling school feeding programs across Africa.