By Ebi Kesiena
In a compelling address on Friday, First Lady Mama Rachel Ruto unveiled the emotional stories that inspired her to initiate a transformative school feeding program aimed at addressing hunger and nurturing a more resilient future generation.
Ruto emphasized that the MaMa Feeding Program transcends mere hunger relief, positioning itself as a holistic strategy crucial to the foundational well-being of the nation and its children.
The initiative, under the slogan ‘Feed a child, educate a future,’ specifically targets informal settlements and marginalized areas within Kenya.
Delivered by Environment CS Soipan Tuya on behalf of the First Lady, the speech underscored the program’s mission to provide nutritious meals to children, not only to address immediate nutritional needs but also to foster a healthier, more educated, and resilient future generation.
The First Lady highlighted the program’s inception, recounting the impactful story of Faith in 2017. During a feeding activity in an informal settlement in Nairobi, Faith, a young girl, revealed that she couldn’t finish her meal as she had left her ailing mother and younger brother at home without food. This encounter served as a powerful catalyst for Mama Rachel Ruto to take action and launch the school feeding program.
Ruto emphasized the transformative power of education, citing how providing meals to students breaks the cycle of poverty, allowing them to focus on their studies and avoid the hardships of hunger and child labor. She passionately asserted that education acts as a great equalizer, capable of lifting entire communities and generations out of poverty.
Commending the World Food Program and the School Meals Coalition for their noble and timely initiatives, Ruto expressed her alignment with their goals and gladly accepted the role of champion when approached. She detailed the administration’s ambitious target to provide nourishing, climate-smart meals to 10 million children by 2030, a significant increase from the current 2.3 million beneficiaries.
However, beyond social impact, Ruto emphasized the program’s environmental and economic benefits, promoting reduced food waste, biodiversity, and conservation of natural resources, while fostering self-sufficient local food economies and creating jobs.