At just 27 years, Wawira Njiru has been recognised by Global Citizen Award for youth leadership held in Johannesburg. With a degree in nutrition, she started Food for Education, an outfit that feeds 2,000 children from Ruiru everyday for Sh10 to Sh15 and helps them stay in school
Sandra Wekesa @andayisandra
I n a nutshell who is Wawira Njiru?
I am a young person with the passion of helping the society. I offer catering services to corporate and also help schools through a feeding programme.
In a nutshell, what does your organisation do?
We provide food in schools around Ruiru. We normally make sure at least children are able to eat a proper meal at school. Basically, without good nutrition children underperform in school.
How do you get funding for the programme?
I must say it is not easy. Mostly, we get money through catering services.
What inspired you to start up a NGO?
Having studied nutritional sciences in University of South Australia in 2010, I acquired skills to help in maintain nutrition integrity in children. So I decided to bring the skills back home. It was not easy, but we eventually pulled through.
What else does your organisation do?
We motivate children to study hard in school. We also help them excel in their fields of choice.
What challenges do you face managing your organisation?
The new budget has driven the cost of inputs up. It has been really hard raising funds.
How many children has your organisation helped so far?
As I said early, we have been able to reach more than 1,500 children around Ruiru. Other than that, we have made sure that each and every pupil comes to school.
You were the recipient of the Global Citizen Award for youth leadership held in Johannesburg this year; could you kindly take us through the glorious moment?
The experience was great and humbling. I was honoured to represent the young people of this continent who make up the majority of the population.
How will the grant you received help boost your organisation?
The grant will help us increase the number of children we work with from 2,000 to 20,000 a day.
How many meals has your organisation provided?
So far, we have provided 400,000 meals and hope to provide one million meals next year.
How do you assess the success of your organisation?
Since we started working with schools, I have noticed that the children’s marks improved by 20 to 30 points.
How exactly does your organisation help children?
We normally cook food in one of the schools, Ruiru Primary, and then visit each school within the locality including Tatu Primary, Ruiru Primary and Ngwee Primary.
What is your five year plan?
My five-year plan is to grow the organisation and provide food to the entire country. It will not be easy but it is worth the try.
When you are not helping children, what do you do?
I deliver food to places around Kilimani because our offices are based there. I also spend time with friends and read novels.