By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
LONDON/NAIROBI (Worthy News) – The woman overseeing tens of thousands of nutritious meals for school children in Kenya has won The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Icon Award 2022, Worthy News learned Tuesday.
Kenyan nutritionist Wawira Njiru, founder and director of the Food for Education charity, “made an outstanding contribution to the food world worthy of international recognition,” organizers said.
The announcement is part of a series of socially- conscious prizes to be revealed ahead of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 awards in London on July 18. William Reed Business Media created the list, and the gongs are now as coveted as “Michelin stars” for restaurants.
However, with many facing starvation worldwide, fine diners focused on Njiru, who expressed concern about 80 percent of children in Kenya not receiving a school meal.
“Njiru believes no child should have to learn on an empty stomach,” said 50 Best, the group organizing the annual food and restaurant awards. “After majoring in food science at a university in Australia, she founded Food for Education in 2016, first making 25 meals a day. Her organization now feeds 40,000 children daily, providing nutritious meals to those in schools across Kenya,” 50 Best added.
She is “helping to boost attendance at the primary level and combat hunger. It has delivered over seven million meals to date, leading to improved nutrition, academic performance, and higher high school transition rates.
By sourcing fresh food directly from farmers, Food for Education has reportedly been able to help stimulate the local economy. Meals are prepared in a central kitchen to internationally recognized food safety standards, according to 50 Best. “The subsidized meals are delivered to students with cutting-edge sustainable technology.”
During the coronavirus pandemic, Njiru’s group also gave food packages and cash transfers to ensure more than two million meals to children and their families at home due to COVID-19, organizers said.
Food for Education utilizes Tap2Eat, a digital mobile platform whereby parents can pay for subsidized lunches with mobile virtual money.
The amount is then credited to a virtual wallet linked to a wristband, which students can wear and use without the need to pay in cash or lose money. Njiru says she hopes to expand the program across Kenya and beyond.
William Drew, Director of Content for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, said that “the Icon Award recognizes true trailblazers in the food sphere. And we’re honored that this year we can present it to Wawira Njiru for her exceptional work.”
More special awards were to be announced in the lead-up to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 awards, backed by Italian mineral water brands S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna. Launched 20 years ago, the list serves as a barometer of global gastronomic trends and showcases a variety of cuisines from all over the world.
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