United Nations in Kenya Person of the Year
Congratulations to Wiwira Ngira, Miller Center Social Enterprise Advisory Council member and 2017 accelerator alumnae. The Kenyan Nutritionist and Food Scientist was named 2021 United Nations in Kenya Person of the Year for her commitment to providing heavily subsidized nutritious meals to students in urban public primary schools across Kenya. She was also the 2022 recipient of the Icon Award by the World’s Best 50 Restaurants.
Wawira is the Founder and CEO of Food4Education, an organization providing subsidized nutritious meals to primary school children. Their impact helps boost educational outcomes in Kenya — including improved school attendance, performance, and high school transition rates. They support local economies by sourcing food directly from nearby farmers. Their mobile app, Tap2Eat, allows parents to contribute $0.15 to subsidize their child’s lunch. The 10% of students who cannot afford to contribute, receive lunch for free. This technology helps Food4Education further identify those families who need additional support.
Bean and Rice Boost Educational Outcomes
In 2012, Wawira was studying nutrition at the University of South Australia when she realized that her skills could make a difference back home where malnutrition and hunger were common in school-age children. She knew that 23 million children in Kenya were estimated to go to school hungry and chronic undernutrition affected 25% of them, stunting their growth. With the World Bank predicting that one in four people will be African by 2050, Wiwira strongly believed that “investing in nutrition is investing in the future of the world.” She started Food4Education with one kitchen and just enough rice and beans to feed 25 children.
We provide low-cost, nutritious, high quality meals to public primary school children every school day to end classroom hunger.
– Wiwira Ngira
Miller Center and Food4Education
Wawira participated in Miller Center’s 2017 accelerator to scale Food4Education’s impact and seek funding to build a centralized kitchen. The organization needed to purchase new kitchen equipment, enhance distribution and logistics, and hire key staff.
“Miller Center was pivotal in our journey to ensure no child has to learn while hungry. We joined the accelerator while feeding 1,000 kids a day and now feed over 50,000 school children each day. The mentors and the dedicated support in our early stages helped lay a foundation for our trajectory to provide daily, nutritious lunches to 1 million kids a day by 2025.”
Today, the organization is proving their impact is sizable. Food4Education has scaled to three centralized kitchens and delivered more than 7 million meals to 48 primary schools in three counties, Kiambu, Nairobi and Mombosa. Fuelled by her work mantra that “no kid should go to school hungry,” Wawira is determined to feed the future of Africa.