Kenya is firming up partnership with the United Arab Emirates to implement a climate friendly school meals programme that will reach 10 million pupils by year 2030, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said on Monday.
Speaking when he hosted United Arab Emirates Minister for Environment and Climate Change Mariam Almheiri at Harambee House Annex, the Deputy President said the two countries enjoy strong ties and Kenya is looking to working closely with the UAE – the host of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention (COP 28)- to anchor the school meal initiatives on climate change resilience.
“The enrollment in schools benefitting from this programme has remarkably gone up and the retention in the schools remains high. We are looking forward to strengthening our partnership in this aspect, because UAE has successfully rolled out a similar programme,” said the DP.
The courtesy call on the DP ahead of the Africa Climate Summit that began on Monday at KICC, Nairobi, followed the initial meeting in Rome, Italy, last July when the two met on the sidelines of United Nations Food Systems Summit 2 and agreed to collaborate in climate-friendly homegrown food systems for school meals programme.
“We have already shared a concept note to follow up on the first meeting we had in Rome. We are keen on moving forward to actualising the partnership,” stated the DP.
Almheiri is leading her country’s delegation to the inaugural African Climate Summit.
The Minister said her country is considering working with Kenya in the school meals programmes.
“We are looking into what we can do together on the school meals programmes. This is about strengthening our partnership and sharing knowledge,” said Almheiri.
On Monday, the two held discussions centred on integrating climate-friendly actions into scaling up the meals programmes.
The Deputy President highlighted that Kenya is following in the steps of other countries like UAE that have successfully rolled out school feeding programs. He said that Kenya remains committed to raising the number of school children under the programme from the current 1.8 million to 10 million by 2030.
He said the programmes will play a key role in increasing the number of learners in schools and improving their retention in the learning institutions.
The DP also praised the partnership between the two countries in the fight against radicalisation and terrorism.
The minister applauded Kenya for hosting the Africa Climate Summit terming it a good opportunity for Africa and the Global South to highlight their challenges and propose solutions on climate change.
She said the Summit comes less than 100 days before UAE hosts COP 28 scheduled between November 30 and December 12, 2023. “Kenya hosting the first Africa Climate Summit shows the interest in leading the discussion on this subject in the global South,” said Almheiri.