Food Security

The school lunch program started in 2008 after teachers and guardians identified hunger as the primary problem affecting students’ attendance and academic performance. Children who are hungry can’t focus on learning.

Each school day, thousands of children in Umoja primary schools receive a free lunch of maize and beans. Preventing hunger for our students mitigates the principle barrier to focus on their studies, and provides nutritional stability. For some children, the lunch served by our nutrition program is the only meal they will receive all day.

The results of the school lunch program:

  • Increased attendance
  • Increased performance
  • Increased graduation from primary school
  • Increased matriculation to secondary school

3,425 students served


Partnering with 19 primary schools

$25 annual cost per student

Enabled by Local Kenyan Partnership

  • 20% of the cost of our nutritional programs is covered by the local community, evidence of how effective US – Kenyan partnership can extend the reach of our services.
  • Umoja Partnership provides the maize and beans for the lunch program. The students’ guardians and the schools provide supplementary vegetables, cooking supplies, storage and kitchen facilities, and cook staff.
  • Schools have developed agricultural and livestock projects, which generate financial support for the school lunch program. These projects help sustain the school lunch program and promote self-sufficiency at the local level.
  • Weekend and evening food is provided to 100 households in which children live alone without any adult present.

The lunch program has been the best to me since it saved on my time. I didn’t need to walk home and maybe I could not find food at home. It also gave motivation since I could read comfortably without being hungry.

- Emily

Former student, graduate of Kisii University with a Bachelor of Computer Science and Technology