Moi University students on Tuesday, March 8, went on strike citing delays in the disbursement of funds by the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) – which left many of them starving.
According to reports, the school banned cooking inside the hostels in 2019, leaving the learners with the single option of having to buy food from the eateries within the school. Many others have had to buy food from outside the school, but which many say is very expensive.
The students – most of whom depend on HELB loans for survival, have had to come up with alternative ways to make money to survive on campus, with many raising the matter with the institution.
In a memo dated March 8, 2021, the university administration acknowledged the concerns raised by students and even sought to offer help where possible.
“It has come to our notice that there are several students who are starving and have been going without meals for some days.”
Dr J.B. Ayieko the Dean of students had appealed to the students to forward the details of those affected.
“This is to request all students to send details of anyone who is starving to the Dean of students through class reps and student leaders. The details include their names, registration number, telephone numbers, hostel and room number,” read the memo.
HELB slashed the loans availed to students from Ksh 45,000 to Ksh 37,000 in December 2020.
This affected the students who have to split the amount to cater for fees, meals, upkeep among other expenses. The government further nodded to the tripling of university fees to offset pending bills in the institutions, a move that added to the agony of students as the pinch of covid-19 on the economy is still present.
A majority of students who stay on campus are mainly taking full-time classes, thus seeking part-time jobs to supplement their income is a challenge, Despite the institution’s efforts to avail canteens that sell meals with subsidized charges, the monetary benefits do not last all semester.
Another institution in the same county went on strike, but in this case, it was over the change of diet. Students in Moi Girls national school demonstrated a change in diet blaming the school principal for the poor choice of food.
This resulted in the indefinite closure of the school. The Global Hunger Index Report of 2020 ranked Kenya in position 84 out of 107 countries. The report revealed that the country has serious levels of hunger above the global average calling for additional efforts to curb the situation.