Effects of school feeding program on access and retention among school pupils in nomadic families in Wajir District, Kenya
Abdullahi, Mohamud Gulled
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Despite the government introduction of school feeding program in 1980 and free primary education in 2003 in its quest to provide basic education to all school going age children, the access and retention rates in nomadic schools are still very low, compared to other settled communities in Kenya. It was due to this that the researcher set to investigate the influence of school feeding program on access and retention among primary school children in nomadic families in central division of Wajir district. The specific objectives of the study were ( i) to assess the ratio of food supplied and the requirements of the school from 2005 -2010,( ii) to identify the extent to which the food supplied is optimally used, (iii) to relate the school feeding Program with pupils' access to education in primary schools in ASAL areas and (iv) to seek views of respondents on possible intervention measures to enhance access and retention in schools using SFP in ASAL primary school. The study used survey design which was conducted in central division of Wajir district, North Eastern province. The target population was 10,452 pupils of which 3,996 are girls and 6,456 are boys as well as 265 teachers. The study also targeted the District Education Officer and District School Feeding Program officer stationed in the division. Simple random sampling procedure was used. The total sample size for the selected study constituted three hundred and sixty two respondents (362). The study used a questionnaire (administered to the head teacher and teachers), interview schedule (for the district education officer and the district school feeding program coordinators) and focus group discussion (administered to the pupils/learners). The SPSS program for MS Windows was used to analyze questionnaires. The study used frequencies and percentages because they easily communicated the research findings to majority of the readers. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data quantitatively. On the ratio of food supplied and the requirements of the schools from 2005 -2010, the study found that the supply channeled to schools was enough to sustain the targeted population. Each child was entitled to receiving a ratio of the commodity, numbers stipulated according to the World Food Program. The study found that the supply channeled to schools was enough to sustain the targeted population based on world food program's policy. The majority of the pupils tended to come to school due to provision of food although the long distance from home to school was a major setback. The teachers indicated that SFP service could be improved by increasing quantity of food, the pupils thought that the school feeding program at their school could be improved by increasing the quantity and quality of food, the pupils and their parents / guardians wanted the school feeding program to continue. The study concludes that the main cause was lack of knowledge on the value of education, while others include lack of food and enough teachers in the schools. The study also states that the school feeding program has been used optimally and therefore should continue. The study further found out that there is a relationship between the schools feeding Program with pupils' access to education in primary schools in ASAL areas. The other finding was that there are inappropriate infrastructural facilities in schools which should be provided. A better economic way to cater for the needs of the nomads should be introduced to decrease poverty. More boarding schools should be introduced built in the area to avoid disturbances of the pupils while they move from one place to another.