Mon. May 20th, 2024

School dropouts heighten due to impact of drought – Kenya News Agency

Meru County’s lower parts have been affected by the drought. Hundreds of school-going children have dropped out of school because they are hungry.

According to the National Drought Management Authority report, the learning has been greatly affected in the semi-arid regions of Meru County. This includes Igembe Central (Igembe South), Igembe North (Igembe North), Igembe Central), Igembe South and Igembe North), Tigania East, TiganiaWest, and Buuri Sub-County.

Schools in the affected areas also reported a decrease on both the boys and girls’ enrollments in the current term at all levels of education.

Speaking to KNA at National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) office in Igembe South Sub-County, Mr Lolokote Sainyugu, Assistant Director, Drought Information Officer maintained that the decline in enrolment and retention of learners in the area specifically the ECDE has been attributed to stoppage of Uji programme in over 95 percent of schools.

He stated that the current food availability in schools is very limited as there are no active school meal programmes. This is in contrast to other times when Expanded School Meal Programmes (ESMP) or Community Support in School Meal Programmes (CSSMP), were used in some schools.

He said that the area’s food insecurity and nutritional insecurity are due to the cumulative effects of below-normal rainfall in three consecutive years, which includes the short and long rains of 2021 as well as the long rains of 2022.

“Other drives of food security include insecurity and human wildlife conflict where in some places of Buuri Constituency and some parts of Igembe North crops were destroyed by elephants,” he said.

The officer stated that water prices are higher than normal in Agro-pastoral livelihood areas like Kachiuru and Kamweline, Kilera and Nginyo in Igembe North Sub-County. This is due to the drying up of surface water sources.

Lolokote spoke out about livestock production and said that the level of livestock production has fallen drastically because of the current low crop residues to livestock feed. The crops dried up very early this season and hadn’t formed enough dry matter.

“Due to the situation some livestock keepers are forced to sell their livestock so as to meet food requirements at home,” he said, adding that others have gone to an extent of encroaching Meru National Park so as to get pastures for their livestock.

Lolokote appealed to both the county and national governments to intervene in the situation, particularly in drought-affected areas like Kachiuru, Kamweline, and Kithetu in Igembe North. This was done by building more dams and introducing school food programs to support students.

By Kamanja Maeria

Source: kenyanews

By Chala Dandessa

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