Beginning 2005, the Kenya Dairy Board and several stakeholders started conceptualizing on how to re-introduce a sustainable school milk program in Kenya. The stakeholders included the Ministries of Livestock, Education and Health, Tetra Pak, New KCC, Kenya School Feeding Council, UNICEF, WFP and FAO among others. This initiative led to the development in 2006 of a concept for a Kenyan School Milk Program.
Conceptualization and piloting
In 2007 the School Milk Concept was piloted with the participation and support of Kenya Dairy Board, Tetra Pak, New K.C.C., Orion Marketing Solutions and the Kenya Private Schools Association among others. The milk was financed by parents in both private and public schools at subsidized rates. In poor areas, the milk was sponsored for free by various institutions.
In the same year, a special brand for the program, known as “Pacoh” was developed, tested and adopted.
In late 2008, the pilot study was successfully concluded and evaluated. The pilot proved that the School Milk Program could be successfully reintroduced in Kenya under a public-private partnership approach.
Objectives of the school milk concept
The objectives of re-introducing the school milk program in Kenya were to;
- Create a milk drinking culture.
- Improve the Nutritional Status of Targeted Children
- Increase Enrollments at Targeted Schools
- Raise the Attendance Levels at Targeted Schools
- Decrease the Number of Children Leaving the Targeted School Early
- Enhance the Academic Performance of Targeted Children
- Increase the Volume of milk processed in Kenya
- Increase Rural Employment as the Result of the Demand for Locally Produced milk
- Increase Employment along the dairy value chain and in the support services
Key strategies and implementation approaches to ensure success of the school milk program
The school milk concept identified the following strategies and proposals to ensure sustainability and success of the program
- Establishment of a National School Milk Trust Fund to mobilize resources and manage the program at the National level
- Establishment of County based School Milk Trust Funds to mobilize resources and manage the program at the County level
- Tax waiver on milk and other inputs into the school milk program
- Cost sharing of the costs of the program between governments, sponsors and parents
- Introduction of a special levy by Government on the milk produced and marketed to support the school milk program
- Tax concessions by Government to lower costs of the program
Key Milestones to date
Over 700 schools, with a population of over 250,000 pupils, have been directly recruited into the program. The Board has utilized this platform to promote the adoption of the concept by the County Governments. Mombasa County has already adopted this concept and approximately 35,000 pupils in ECD and Lower Classes are currently covered by the Mombasa County School Milk Program every school day, several other counties including Meru, Murang’a, Bungoma, Kilifi and Siaya are also interested.
The County based School Milk Programs, which will target over 1.7 million ECD pupils in 47 counties, will be promoted in phases. The promotion will focus on;
- Creating awareness on the importance of the school milk program to all the Counties
- Promoting adoption of the concept in all the 47 counties
- Promoting establishment of County School Milk Trust Funds (CSMTF) to mobilize resources and manage the program
- Promote establishment of sound policies and planning to support the development and sustainability of school milk in the Counties
- Developing partnerships and collaborations with various stakeholders for the purpose of developing and sustaining the school milk program