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ECDE Feeding Program Revived in Drought-Hit County

ECDE Feeding Program Revived in Drought-Hit County

On Thursday, Taita Taveta Governor Andrew Mwadime launched a feeding program for Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) centers in the county, aimed at keeping young and vulnerable pupils in classrooms.

The program will provide 22 tonnes of porridge flour and sugar to 317 ECDE centers, benefitting over 12,000 pupils. The county, which mainly relies on rain-fed agriculture, has been hit by a severe drought resulting in crop failure and widespread hunger.

Over 150,000 people in the county are currently facing starvation, with 17,000 of those being children. The ongoing drought has also led to a spike in malnutrition cases, with over 23% of children under the age of five facing malnourishment and stunted growth.

Governor Mwadime expressed hope that the program would keep young pupils in classrooms and provide some relief to parents struggling to feed their children.

He flagged off two trailer trucks carrying 16 tonnes of fortified porridge flour and 6 tonnes of sugar from the county headquarters at Mwatate.

The County Executive Member of Education, Gloria Monikombo, stated that high absenteeism rates among ECDE pupils had been observed and that the program would help bring them back to classes.

County nutritionist Pauline Mugo emphasized that the ongoing drought had resulted in increased malnutrition cases among children. She stated that better March-May rains would be essential to ease food insecurity at the household level.

The county chief officer for special programs, Harrison Mwamkonu, called on the national government and partners to intensify food relief initiatives in the worst-hit areas.

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Taita Taveta County has experienced dry winds, scorching sun heat, and cloudless skies for the past six seasons. The residents have been devastated by the drought, with the young and early education learners being the worst affected.

With heavy rains currently pounding Nairobi, Western, and other regions, Taita Taveta residents are hopeful for a bountiful rain season that would ease the food crisis.

ECDE Feeding Program Revived in Drought-Hit County

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