NAIROBI, Kenya, July 31 – Four trucks containing 150 Metric Tonnes of specialised nutritional food were on Sunday flagged off to feed people that are worst hit by the prevailing famine in Northern Kenya.
Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet announced that the food aid, which is the first consignment under the ‘Kenyans for Kenya hunger initiative’, will benefit about 21,000 families for the next six months.
“What is being flagged off is from the collection (made) on the first day on Thursday of Sh23 million. We are spending about Sh18.4 million on this first lot of unimix which is going to Turkana North which is worst off (after which) we will go to Turkana Central and then Turkana South,” he reported.
The fortified supplies, which are expected to reach arrive in Turkana in the next three days, will also be given to malnourished school-going children to encourage them to stay in school and prepare for the upcoming national exams in November.
Lactating mothers will also be given priority.
The media has been awash with disturbing images of Kenyans on their death beds causing a public outrage and an outpouring of support in equal measure.
Last week, the Safaricom Foundation, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Foundation and the Media Owners Association (MOA) launched the ‘Kenyans for Kenya hunger initiative’ through which ordinary citizens can play their part and help alleviate the suffering of the North Easterners.
And through the money transfer service driven project, a total of Sh62 million had been donated as of 11.45am on Sunday through M-Pesa.
The donations have been received from 250,000 Kenyans only and the initiative’s steering committee is optimistic that there is still a lot of scope for raising more.
Safaricom Chief Executive Bob Collymore disclosed that they would be inviting other corporates to join in and help raise the targeted amount of Sh500 million which he was optimistic they would surpass.
“I will be asking my competitors and all the other corporates to come together and respond to what the ordinary Kenyan has done. Furthermore, I am going to ask my fellow CEOs to put their hands into their own pockets and to respond to this crisis,” he said.
The initiative is set to run for the next four weeks by which time Mr Collymore believes they can burst Sh1billion.
The organisers have hinted that the extra funds that will be collected will be used to implement medium to long term interventions to ensure the region becomes food secure in the future.
To make this happen however, they continue to rally Kenyans to support the cause and save lives.
The cry for the help has reached Kenyans in the Diaspora who continue to make their donations as well.
“We would like to encourage everyone to come out and support this initiative because no act of kindness regardless of how small is wasted,” emphasised KCB Foundation Manager Rachel Gathoni.