The UK charity African Promise has launched an urgent appeal for donations for a much-needed lunch programme reaching 2,700 primary school children in a drought ravaged region of rural Kenya.
The charity currently provides a daily term-time lunch to every pupil across its seven partner schools in the isolated region of Kasigau in south-east Kenya. But its future is at risk as the price of basic staples such as maize and beans has rocketed since the start of the year in the face of a devastating drought that has resulted in successive failed harvests and left millions on the brink of food insecurity.
Without additional funding the charity will be forced to withdraw a vital lifeline for these children; one which, as the charity’s founder and director Charles Coldman explains, they can ill-afford to lose.
For many children in our partner schools the lunch we provide is their only guaranteed meal of the day. On a visit to one of our partner schools last week I noticed that many of the children were not eating all their serving; when I questioned a teacher about this he told me that they save the rest to take home for dinner so they do not go to bed on an empty stomach. It would be absolutely devastating if we were forced to scale back the programme at the very time that it is needed the most.
It currently costs the charity around £250 a day to deliver this programme but Charles adds that he expects this amount to rise further in the months ahead, “It has become impossible to predict how much food will cost from one month to the next; the price of maize has risen by 30% since the start of the year alone.”
“We budget for small increases but nothing like those that we are witnessing at the moment,” he said. “Like every other consumer in Kenya we are at the mercy of the laws of supply and demand, and it is stretching our limited resources to breaking point. Even if food prices remain stable for the rest of the year we will need to raise about £8,000 more than we budgeted.”
The charity is appealing for donations from the general public but is also looking for schools and other groups to help with fundraising. If you are able to make a donation or would like to find out more please visit the African Promise website.