Oserian feeding programme sustains top performance from pupils

Oserian Director of Administration Mary Kinyua with the top performers from Oserian Primary school

NAIVASHA, Kenya: Oserian Development Company will offer full secondary school scholarships to eight top candidates from two primary schools within its farm.

The eight, six boys and two girls studied at the Oserian Primary school, a public institution and the private wing, Hilltop Primary.

It was the first time in the history of the schools to produce a top candidate nationally, a fete that threw the firm’s community into a frenzy.

The excellent performance comes in the wake of the launch, early this year, of a school feeding programme to which the management attributes the stellar performance that placed Oserian number one in the Mayela zone.

The top boy, Churchill Omondi, scored 424 marks, claiming a position among the top 500 candidates nationally. The second boy scored 419 while the third girl scored 398.

Oserian director of administration Mary Kinyua said the excellent performance, comes after pupils started getting a cup of Uji for breakfast and lunch for free. Providing this fermented porridge to pupils proffers a reliable indicator of the need to introduce a countrywide school feeding programme to keep children nourished so they can concentrate on studies.

Ms Kinyua’s sentiments were echoed by headmaster Simon Mr Mwangi who said, “The Oserian school feeding programme has reduced absenteeism and given children the much-needed energy enabling concentration in school resulting in the highest marks ever.”

Fairtrade manages the school’s scholarships awarding bursaries to students who score 280 marks and above. More importantly, they run the schools feeding programme.

Joseph Njoroge, the representative of the Oserian Fairtrade Joint Body, explains, the engagement of children to studying has risen since the introduction of free food because they are not hungry.

He adds: “We believe in impacting communities by investing in education and results are speaking for themselves as seen in the first year’s performance since the feeding started.”

Scholarship winner Churchill Omondi, whose dream is to become a pilot, says being part of the feeding programme and gaining a scholarship for the next four years has taken the burden of school fees away from his parents.

His mother Mariam Aoko, who works at the flower farm, couldn’t hide her gratitude for both the feeding programme and the scholarship. “I haven’t worried about breakfast and lunch, and now I don’t have to worry about my son’s school fees,” she said.

The Oserian scholarships also cover university education for the top three students of Oserian High school, who get a chance to work at the farm if they wish after college. Four of the first university beneficiaries are already at various higher institutions of learning in the country.

Ms Kinyua added, “Oserian will pursue ways of sustaining both programmes as its contribution to the Big 4 Agenda – education and food security. It currently caters for 2,300 students.”

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