His Excellency Governor Francis Kimemia has today launched Nyandarua’s Early Childhood School Feeding Programme, a first for the County.
Ahead of his election last August, Governor Kimemia had pledged to re-introduce a free school feeding programme to increase enrolment in Nyandarua’s schools.
Speaking at Kagondo Primary School in Gwa Kung’u, Ndaragwa Sub-County, an emotional Governor Kimemia said the programme is a major milestone for the County.
“It is one of the most important days for me and my Government since we are witnessing one of my key visions becoming a reality, six months after my election as your Governor,” he said.
The programme aims to transform the lives of thousands of young nursery school children by providing access to nutritious fresh milk in their own schools.
Over 23,000 of pupils in Nyandarua’s 496 public Early Childhood Centres will be receiving a packet of free milk three times a week.
“The calcium found in the milk is essential for development of their bones. In addition, the protein found in the milk will improve their muscle growth. No doubt school attendance will improve as pupils who are not hungry will learn more efficiently,” said Governor Kimemia.
Further, the rate of normal mental and physical development is expected to increase so as to reduce the rate of stunted growth in the County’s children.
“Currently, the programme is fully funded by my government but we will work very closely with the National Government, private sector, civil society and other development partners to sustain and expand it to private ECDE centres and eventually to all primary school pupils in Nyandarua,” he said.
The expansion will to conform to the County Assembly resolution of October 10, 2017, which urged the County Executive Committee to start a school-based feeding programme in pre-primary centres by providing nutrients-fortified porridge.
“My Government will eventually implement free pre-primary education for all our children and ensure that such schools are within a reasonable distance from where the pupils reside,” said Governor Kimemia.
Establishment of the programme has required one of the most extensive negotiations between several dairy processors, suppliers and service providers.
While provision and distribution of milk will initially be done by Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC), Governor Kimemia said the milk will be provided from their Nyahururu depot whose catchment is Nyandarua’s dairy farmers, in a move expected to increase the latter’s market share.
“KCC will be expected to distribute the milk up to Ward level from where our Boda Boda youth groups will be contracted to transport it to individual ECDE centres. I direct Ward administrators, under their respective Sub-County administrators to take charge, coordinate and supervise the programme so as to ensure that the milk reaches the children as scheduled,” he said.
The administrators are expected to ensure secure storage for the milk and avoid losses through spillage, with support from officers under the County Commissioner.
Governor Kimemia said the County Government will soon introduce a competitive scheme of service for Nyandarua’s 400 ECDE teachers to boost their capacity in the sector.
“My Government will soon employ a further 200 to boost our teacher-learner ratio. A draft scheme of service for ECDE teachers aimed at absorbing all of them under permanent and pensionable terms is now in place awaiting validation by the Council of Governors,” he said.
In addition, Governor Kimemia said every Ward in Nyandarua will benefit from construction and furniture of two ECDE centres as well as modern ablution facilities.
Already, 1,200 school uniforms have been procured for distribution to needy pupils.
To boost the learners’ transition through all levels of schooling, Governor Kimemia said disbursement of the County Bursary Fund has been fast-tracked, with cheques for this year’s Kshs. 40 million set for distribution next week.
A subsidized grant will also soon be disbursed to each of the 1,600 trainees in Nyandarua’s youth polytechnics.
“Construction of twin workshops for Mbuyu and Ol Kalou polytechnics is now in the planning stage while construction of administration blocks for Rurii, Kangui and Ngorika polytechnics will be done by July this year,’ said the Governor.
Kangui, Miharati, Kinangop and Mirangi-ini polytechnics will benefit from construction of hostels.
Governor Kimemia hailed the Joint Steering Committee, comprising of members from both Nyandarua County and the University of Nairobi, for spearheading plans to establish the University in Nyandarua, whose first intake has been tentatively set for May 2018 for undergraduate studies in Agriculture, Commerce and Education.
“I invite each one of us to keep track of this process, and support it to fruition,” he said.
Under culture and social services, Governor Kimemia noted that a rehabilitation centre at Ndemi has already been identified, while the elderly and Mau Mau veterans are now being initiated into the National Hospital Insurance Fund.
“Assistive devices for People Living with Disability (PLWDs) are also a matter under consideration, while a robust HIV/Aids programme is underway,” he said.
800 PLWDs joined the County Government in celebrating the International Disability Day on December 3, 2017.
“The next agenda for the Department of Education must be to provide sanitary towels for each of our deserving school-going young ladies,” he said.
Today’s event caps weeks in which an expectant public has been waiting for quick wins from the young administration.
Governor Kimemia said coming months will be marked by an escalated implementation of projects across all wards by the County Government.
“Projects worth billions will shortly be implemented. Nyandarua will never be the same again,” he said.
In Ndaragwa Constituency, the Governor noted that His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed that Ndaragwa-Maili Kumi, Ndaragwa-Kanyagia, Subuku/Ndaragwa, Ngamini-Uruku (total of 40 kilometres), Subuku-Shamata-Kaka-MairoInya-Shauri-Ndogino to Salama (total 40 kilometres) and Maili Kumi-Shamata—Kaka-Kariamu roads be upgraded to Bitumen standards.
Similar projects have been earmarked for Nyandarua’s other four constituencies.
“Clearly, Mwihoko Ni Ciiko,” he concluded.