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Wawira Njiru: The Woman Feeding 33,000 Children Everyday

Njiru, who grew up in Ruiru, started Food4Education while pursuing her college education at the University of South Australia

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31-year old Wawira Njiru is the founder of Food4Education, an organization responsible for serving 33,000 meals everyday to primary school-going children in Kenya.

In the past decade, the organization has grown from humble beginnings to an internationally acclaimed operation. It has also won Njiru countless awards and accolades, including the UN Person of the Year award in 2021 and the Global Citizen Prize for Youth Leadership in 2018.

Food4Education cooks its meals at centralized kitchens before delivering them to schools across Kiambu, Nairobi and Mombasa. According to the organization, it costs around Ksh30 to provide a nutritious meal for one school-going child.  Parents provide Ksh15, and Food4Education subsidizes the cost by chipping in with Ksh15.

The company has also developed impressive technology to support its mission – most notably Tap2Eat. Tap2Eat allows parents to pre-pay for their kids’ meals via mobile money. The amount is credited to a virtual wallet linked to an NFC smart wrist band, which the students use to access meals at school.

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Njiru, who grew up in Ruiru, Kiambu, started Food4Education while pursuing her college education at the University of South Australia. In 2012, she organized a Kenyan-themed fundraising dinner in Adelaide charging $20 a plate.

Through the dinner, Njiru raised the equivalent of Ksh126,000 which she used to set up the organization’s first makeshift kitchen in her hometown of Ruiru. Based at Ruiru Primary School, Food4Education initially could only serve 25 children.

But a determined Njiru pushed forward, running several online fundraisers to support the organization’s growth. Over time, the number of children benefitting from the program steadily increased along with Food4Education’s profile.

It expanded from only operating in Kiambu county to the capital Nairobi and, later, the Coastal city of Mombasa. Njiru says her mission is to help improve school attendance rates and educatíon outcomes, by making sure kids can enjoy healthy meals at school!

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MARTIN SIELE
MARTIN SIELEhttps://loud.co.ke/
Martin K.N Siele is the Content Lead at Business Today. He is also a Quartz contributor and a 2021 Baraza Media Lab-Fringe Graph Data Storytelling Fellow. Passionate about digital media, sports and entertainment, Siele also founded Loud.co.ke
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