Impact of feeding programmes on pre-school childrens’ selected performance parameters in Kabare Zone, Kirinyaga County, Kenya
Mbunje, Newton W.
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The study was set to find out the impact of feeding programmes on selected performance parameters or indicators among children in Kabare Zone, Kirinyaga County which included: enrollment, attendance, retention and learning in pre-schools within the same zone. The feeding programs are normally put in place to help curb short term hunger problem among children from low socio-economic groups in order to ensure that they grow well in all areas of human development, thus boosting their enrolment, attendance, retention as well as learning. In Kabare there are some pockets of poverty as well as food insecure areas and a good percentage of children come from poor socio-economic families. In addition, most of them are consistently out of school and this motivated the researcher to find out whether their out of school behavior, could be related to non-existence of feeding programs in pre-schools. The specific objectives of this study were: to establish the status of feeding programs in pre-schools in Kabare zone; establish the influence of feeding programs on pre-school children’s enrolment, attendance, retention and learning. The theory of motivation by Maslow (1971) was employed to guide the descriptive survey study using a sample size of 8 (30%) pre-schools out of 26, 16 (40%) out of 40 teachers, and 264 (30%) parents of pres-school children out of 881. Data collection was conducted using observations as well as interviews for teachers and questionnaires for parents. To test the validity and reliability of research tools, piloting was done in four pre-schools (2 with a feeding programme and another 2 without). Data were analyzed quantitatively using frequency counts, percentages and means without going into establishing significant relationships between the study variables while qualitative data was analyzed thematically using narratives based on study objectives. Thereafter, findings were presented using pie charts, graphs and frequency tables. The results obtained reveal that the meal that was provided the most involved a mixture of maize and beans “githeri” while the meal that was provided the least was porridge. There was gradual but steady increase in enrolment in pre-schools with feeding programmes from 2013 to 2016. The results showed that enrolment was excellent in 6 schools and fair in 2 schools. The study findings further revealed that there was inconsistence in class attendance in schools which did not have SFP. The schools with no SFP had poor retention rate. The study concludes that feeding programme is one of the factors influencing the enrolment, attendance and retention of the pre-scholars. The study recommended that policies that guide the need to make SFP compulsory in pre-schools should be established since it improves children’s enrolment, attendance and performance.