Kenyan nutritionist is recognised for her work as founder and director of Food for Education
Wawira Njiru, founder of Kenya’s Food for Education, is named as the recipient of the Icon Award 2022 by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants
Her non-profit organisation provides nutritious meals to children in schools across the country and has delivered over 7 million meals to date
Njiru was awarded the title of UN Person of the Year 2021 in Kenya and was also the very first recipient of the Global Citizen Prize: Cisco Youth Leadership Award in 2018
LONDON, May 31, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — In the latest pre-announced award from The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022, it is announced today that the recipient of the Icon Award 2022 is Kenyan nutritionist Wawira Njiru, founder and director of non-profit Food for Education. The Icon Award celebrates an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the food world worthy of international recognition and who has used their platform to raise awareness and drive positive change.
With an estimated 80% of children in Kenya not receiving a school meal, Njiru believes no child should have to learn on an empty stomach. After majoring in food science at university in Australia, she founded Food for Education in 2016, at first making 25 meals a day. The organisation now feeds 40,000 children daily, providing nutritious meals to those in schools across Kenya, helping to boost attendance at 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 also been able to help stimulate the local economy. Meals are prepared in a central kitchen to internationally recognised food safety standards, while the subsidised meals are delivered to students using cutting-edge technology to design a sustainable means of delivering high quality, wholesome food. During the pandemic, the organisation also provided food packages and cash transfers that delivered over 2,000,000 meals to children and their families at home due to COVID-19.
Food for Education utilises Tap2Eat, a digital mobile platform whereby parents can pay for the subsidised lunches with mobile money. The amount is then credited to a virtual wallet linked to an NFC smart wristband, which students can wear and use accordingly, meaning no cash transfers and no lost money. Njiru hopes to expand the programme across more of Kenya and potentially beyond and provide meals to 1 million children over the next five years.
William Drew, Director of Content for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, says: “The Icon Award recognises true trailblazers in the food sphere and we’re honoured that this year we can present it to Wawira Njiru for her exceptional work. The achievements of Food for Education in just six short years have been astonishing and we know that Wawira and her organisation will go on to do incredible things in the future, across Kenya and beyond.”
Njiru comments on the award: “I am honoured and excited to be this year’s recipient of the Icon Award for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Hungry children cannot learn or grow and across the world, school meals are critical to children’s growth and education. This has been especially exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic with school meals essential to recovery and rebuilding. I would like to acknowledge the entire Food for Education team that I work with and with whom I share this award, as they work tirelessly every day to provide these lunch meals. Every day we are working to ensure that more and more school-going children have access to nutritious meals and I am grateful for this award that recognises the critical work we are doing to end classroom hunger.”
Additional special pre-announced awards will be revealed between now and July, as part of the lead-up to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 awards, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna. An extensive event programme will culminate in this year’s awards ceremony, to be held at Old Billingsgate market in the City of London on Monday 18th July.
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About The World’s 50 Best Restaurants
Since 2002, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants has reflected the diversity of the world’s culinary landscape. The annual list of the world’s most prestigious restaurants provides a snapshot of some of the best destinations for unique culinary experiences, in addition to being a barometer for and a pioneer of global gastronomic trends. The 50 Best family also includes Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants, The World’s 50 Best Bars, Asia’s 50 Best Bars, North America’s 50 Best Bars and the #50BestTalks and 50 Best Explores series, all of which are owned and run by William Reed. 50 Best aims to bring together communities across the hospitality sector to foster collaboration, inclusivity, diversity and discovery and help drive positive change.
About the main sponsor: S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna
S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna are the main partners of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and 50 Best for Recovery. S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna are the leading natural mineral waters in the fine dining world. Together they interpret Italian style worldwide as a synthesis of excellence, pleasure and well-being.
Estrella Damm – Official Beer Partner; sponsor of the Estrella Damm Chefs’ Choice Award
American Express Resy – Official Credit Card & Booking Platform Partner (Resy); sponsor of the American Express One To Watch Award
Gin Mare – Official Gin Partner; sponsor of the Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award
Flor de Caña – Official Rum Partner; sponsor of the Flor de Caña Sustainable Restaurant Award
Sosa – Official Ingredients Partner; sponsor of The World’s Best Pastry Chef Award
Villa Massa – Official Limoncello and Amaretto Partner; sponsor of the Villa Massa Highest Climber Award
Beronia – Official Wine Partner
Nude Glass – Official Glassware Partner; sponsor of The World’s Best Female Chef Award
Illycaffè – Official Coffee Partner
Nyetimber – Official Sparkling Wine Partner
Cinco Jotas – Official Ibérico Ham Partner
The London Essence Co. – Official Mixers Partner
Choco – Official Ordering Partner
Aspire Lifestyles – Official Concierge Partner; sponsor of the Highest New Entry Award
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