Celebrating six new cookhouses in 2020, despite COVID-19

By Teresa Mellish

Six new cookhouses with school gardens  have been built in Meru County in the last six months, since the COVID-19 pandemic started.   Each cookhouse includes three large fuel-efficient stoves, a place to store maize and beans, as well as an area to serve food to the pupils. 

Five of the cookhouses were funded by the Global Affairs Canada (GAC)  funded project, More Food. Better Food:  Empowering Kenyan Women Farmers.  The sixth cookhouse was funded by the 2019 Village Feast. 

We took advantage of the circumstances we are in to get the construction done while there was nobody at the Kenyan schools, which have been closed since March due to the pandemic. 

The cookhouses funded by GAC have been built at the Kirimara Primary School, Kiborione Primary School, Kibirichia Primary School,  Murinya Primary School and Maritati Primary School. 

The cookhouse funded by the Village Feast is at the Michogomone Secondary School.   

All of the schools funded by GAC have more than 300 children between Primary class up to grade 8. One school has almost 500 children. 

The meals are prepared with support from a 4-way partnership, including the parents, the school, Farmers Helping Farmers and Global Affairs Canada, or the Village Feast in the case of Michogomone School.  

The cookhouses will be used to prepare githeri, a stew made of maize and beans, for the mid-day lunch for the pupils and teachers, plus a mid-morning porridge.

The school gardens will provide vegetables for the meal. The parents will provide the maize and beans.  The school will run the program. 

We understand that pupils in grades 4 and 8 as well as form 4  (grade 12)  are going back to school on October 19, 2020. The rest of the students are expected to go back to classes in early January. 

When  the schools are back to capacity, the project nutritionist will offer training to parents on nutritious ways to prepare food. 

Farmers Helping Farmers gratefully acknowledges the support of Global Affairs Canada and the Village Feast.

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