Food for Education

Food for Education: School based restaurants that promote food security for school children.

Ruiru, KenyaRuiru, Kenya
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Our solution provides fresh, nutritious, high quality and sustainable food for education at heavily subsidised prices to primary school students in low income areas.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if no child in the world had to solve a math problem on an empty stomach.
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

26% of Kenya’s children are stunted due to chronic undernutrition and 40% of Kenya’s population is undernourished. Due to high poverty rates and increased food security in Kenya, many children are forced to go to school and learn while hungry. This negatively impacts a child's ability to learn, school attendance and performance leading to poor education outcomes and less opportunities to break the poverty cycle.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Community school based restaurants provide fresh, nutritious, high quality food for education at heavily subsidised prices to primary school students in low income areas to improve nutrition status, improve school attendance and performance. We prepare standardised and nutritious menus, source for food directly from farmers at competitive prices enabling access to fresh and nutritious food and provide high quality food to students at heavily subsidised prices. To cover the extra cost of the subsidies, we sell food to community members improving access to fresh, nutritious and high quality food leading to healthier, more stable and literate communities.


Transform Nutrition Champion Awards 2013.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Jane, one of the students enrolled in our program lives in a one bedroom house with her mother and 5 siblings. Because her mother is a casual worker in a local factory earning less than $2 a day, her family struggles to afford basics such as food. Before our program, Jane would run away from school at lunch time and go look for food at the local market and the streets. Sometimes, she wouldn't go back to school for afternoon classes. Jane joined our program in 2012 and since then never missed a day of school. She graduated from class 8 last year and received a scholarship to join a top high school due to her excellent performance and is now working to build her future that will benefit her and her family.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The pilot program in Kenya has benefited over 100 school children from low income areas and sells food to over 100 community members a day at the Double Portion Restaurant. This has resulted in improved nutrition status, school attendance, performance and primary school to secondary school transition rates. 96% of students in our programs have transitioned from primary to secondary school, 100% of students have completed primary school and 100% of students had access to lunch every day at school leading to improved nutrition status. As food security continues to be a challenge for communities in low income areas, expansion plans are underway to benefit 1500 students in 2 slum based schools and over 500 community members a day and expand to reach more students and communities in the near future.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The growth strategy has been designed in consultation with relevant government bodies, community members and stakeholders. 2016 & 2017 - Provide food to 1500 students from Ruiru Primary School and St. George’s Primary School. 2016/2017 - Construction of a central kitchen that will have the capacity to prepare 100,000 meals. 2019 - Provide meals to 50,000 students in Kiambu, Nairobi, Machakos, Murang'a and Kajiado Counties 2020 - Provide meals to 100,000 students from more counties in Kenya 2020-2025- Construction of more central kitchens and the provision of meals to 1 million students.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

To cover the cost of subsidies for student meals, we are establishing another community restaurant as part of the project design to sell low cost nutritious meals to community members with the profits funding the cost of food. Profits from our current restaurant cover 62% of our budget for food and we will continue to establish more restaurants that provide low cost meals and subsidise the cost of food for vulnerable school children.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

The World Food Program and the Kenyan government runs school feeding programs for school children in arid and semi-arid areas and some urban areas. They use a Home Grown School Feeding Program approach through which they give money to schools to purchase food from local farmers. Our model however links parents with the community to provide nutritious food for school children. Parents meet half the cost of food and the community meets the other half through community school based restaurants. This is a more sustainable and cost effective approach.

Founding Story

Wawira founded Food for Education in 2012 while studying a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Food Sciences. She was learning about the impact food has not only on health, but on political stability and security. Food insecurity drives many people all over the world from their homes to the streets to steal, beg and engage in other forms of violence. In her community, many children were being forced to choose between staying in class to learn or going out to the streets to beg for food. In many schools, children would prefer to look for work or steal just to get 1 meal a day. She fundraised $1680 and constructed a kitchen to start providing food to 25 students to keep them in school.


Wawira Njiru- Executive Director. Wawira is a Nutritionist who lives and works in Nairobi Kenya. She has 6 years experience in community work, social entrepreneurship and international development. She has previously worked with World Vision Australia and provides expertise on project design and implementation. She is currently undertaking her masters in public health at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. Brad Chilcott- Board member. Brad is the founder of Welcome to Australia, a national movement uniting NGOs, high-profile Australians, political leaders, businesses, the public sector and many individuals in cultivating a culture of welcome for asylum seekers, refugees and other new arrivals to Australia. He advices on communication, structure and strategy development and social innovation. Sam Odgers- Board Member. Sam is a pharmacist living and working in Melbourne Australia. He has a passion for International Development and has in the past worked with the OakTree Foundation on various development projects with a particular focus on fundraising and youth engagement. He offers key insights on fundraising and youth engagement. Ann Nyokabi- Communications Manager Ann has vast experience in communications especially social media strategy. She manages our social media platforms and is in charge of media communication. Rachael Temoi Ndiema- Sustainability Manager Rachael works to help us achieve sustainability through the establishment of gardens that provide food for our feeding program. She has worked with Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA), previously worked with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Climate Change and Food Security (CCAFS), The Tea Board of Kenya (TBK), International Potato Centre (CIP), FAO funded-Vetworks East Africa, KARLO, Kenyatta University ANAFE project and the Kenya National Beekeeping Station.
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:


Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Founder and Executive Director

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Zero Hunger.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

2013- Started a pig farm

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

Paul Newnham- Global Youth Director World Vision International
Sam Gichuru- CEO Nailab.