Wawira Njiru, the founder of Food 4 Education, this week added the 2021 UN Person of the Year Award to her long list of accolades.
She received the award at UN’s Kenya office in Nairobi on Monday, October 25, accompanied by her parents and members of the team at Food 4 Education. Her organization prides itself in providing nutritious lunches to vulnerable school children every school day in a bid to end classroom hunger and improve school attendance and performance.
“With this award, we hope our work will continue to show the importance of school feeding program as well as highlight how every child needs a meal to learn,” Wawira stated.
She was congratulated by figures including UN Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed, NARC Kenya Party Leader Martha Karua and activist Boniface Mwangi among numerous other Kenyans.
Her organization has grown steadily from humble beginnings and currently provides lunches for over 33,000 children everyday. Food 4 Education hopes to be able to provide meals for over 1,000,000 children daily in the next five years.
Wawira founded the organization in 2012, after realizing that an empty stomach was one of the biggest barriers standing in the way of an education for many Kenyan children.
As an undergraduate at the University of South Australia in Adelaide where she majored in Food Sciences, she hosted a Kenyan themed meal party charging $20 a plate and raised Ksh126,000 – enough to start the operation. From a makeshift kitchen feeding 25 children in Ruiru, Food 4 Education currently feeds children as far as Mombasa.
They partner with local smallholder farmers who supply them with produce. They make the food in their own kitchens and deliver it to schools.
Food 4 Education has also been hailed for integrating technology with Tap 2 Eat – a digital platform that allows children in public schools access to meals. Parents contribute for the subsidized lunches using mobile money.
The amount is credited to a virtual wallet linked to an NFC smart wrist band which students use to then Tap2Eat in under 5 seconds.