There’s a heated debate brewing over Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja’s “Dishi na County” school feeding program! Yep, you heard it right. An advocacy group for education rights is taking this lunchtime battle to the courtrooms.
Janet Muthoni Ouko, the Executive Director of the Tunza Mtoto Coalition, penned an open letter to the Governor, raising some serious concerns about the program. According to Ouko, the Ksh1.2 billion allocated for constructing centralised kitchens should have been used to build more Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) centers and public schools. You know, to tackle the issue of overcrowding and benefit a larger number of students. Wise thinking, huh?
But here’s the twist. Ouko argues that the children of Nairobi aren’t skipping school because they’re missing out on those school lunches. Nope, it’s not a case of hunger leading to absenteeism. According to her, it’s the school fees that are causing the real trouble. Levies, levies everywhere!
Let’s dive into some numbers, shall we? Nairobi apparently has only 205 public elementary schools, while there are a whopping 3,000 non-formal schools scattered across neighborhoods like Kibra, Mathare, Mukuru, Kibagare, Kiambiu, Maili Saba, and Kawangware. Talk about a stark contrast!
Ouko raises another valid point. The school feeding program seems to favor public schools, leaving the non-formal schools out in the cold. And guess what? Public schools only cater to a mere 11.2% of all children in the county. Now, that’s what we call inequality in action.
Adding fuel to the fire, the former CEC for Education also jumped in and criticized the Governor for allocating funds to a task that falls outside the realm of devolution. It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It just doesn’t quite work.
Ouko isn’t taking this lying down, though. She’s gearing up to take the battle to the courts, seeking orders to halt the expenditure of Nairobi County funds on programs that further marginalize the most vulnerable in society. She’s not messing around!
But that’s not all. Ouko wants the Senate to step in and make sure there’s a swift response to prevent any more loss of value for money. She’s calling on them, asking, “Hey, Senate, should county money be spent solely at the Governor’s discretion, even when it clearly goes against reason and the existing law?” Now, that’s a tough question to ponder.