Ethiopia continues to have high rates of malnutrition and stunted growth in children, and the population’s mortality rate and productivity is significantly affected by lack of nutrition. Despite multifaceted development in Ethiopia, hunger and malnutrition have severely impacted people living in rural, urban, and urban fringe areas. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), “major efforts are needed to rapidly and sustainability to improve the health and nutrition status of the population, which would have a positive impact on economic growth and development of the country.” In Ethiopia, 52% of the population is children under the age of 18 and 44% of them are under the age of 15. It is common to see children in the streets and market places seeking out jobs or begging for money or food.
The iNSchool Project continues to learn about the need in the Kolfe area, which is located in Keble 13/14 of the Kolfe Keranyo Sub-City in the western part of the capital city. In a 2011’s survey, the estimated total number of people residing in this sub-city is around 500,000. This sub-city is considered to be the poorest part of the city and the most densely populated one. In many cases, parents are unable to send their children to school because they are unable to clothe their children properly. Many parents are forced to take their children to places where they can find food and support. Parents are unable to work because their immediate need is to find food for their family, and children are not staying in school because they have to travel with their parents where they can access food. Those who manage to come to school often come with no food (breakfast or lunch, or both) often have low energy, low grades, low motivation, low engagement, low success, low self-esteem, low problem solving skills, and have slow physical and cognitive growth.
In 2015, the iNSchool project was begun with a pilot project that provided breakfasts, lunches, school supplies and uniforms for selected students at Bisrat Elementary School. The project aims to raise the number of children who receive in-school nutrition to 20 and school supplies and uniform to 25 over the next school year. In addition to providing school meals and supplies, the project aims to provide an after school tutoring program for students who are struggling academically and to renovate the school’s kitchen and purchase kitchenware.