Safaricom has announced a partnership with the government to facilitate mobile money transfer to drought-stricken households in 23 Arid and Semi- Arid Land (ASAL) counties as a drought response intervention.
The collaboration with the State Department of Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizen Affairs and Special Programmes will see the first cohort of 360,696 beneficiaries receive KES 1,082,088,000 through M-PESA, where each household will get KES 3,000 on monthly basis until the rain situation improves.
The households considered for the support include those with the elderly, sick and persons with disabilities, malnourished children; and those headed by a single parent or children.
“Cash transfers have proven to be the most effective way to reach vulnerable persons in times of emergency with accruing benefits. Including real time receipt of assistance, value for money as the beneficiary has choice of purchase, safeguards the dignity of beneficiaries as well as stimulates local economy. We are happy that Safaricom has come on board to support this endeavour,” said Prof. Margaret Kobia, Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizens Affairs and Special Programmes.
The use of digital financial systems such as M-PESA, Prof. Kobia added, will also continue to support cashless transactions as a recommend measures in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic while also enhancing efficiency and accountability
Over 2.5 million people are currently experiencing food insecurity with the situation continuing to deteriorate following the below-average long rain season and further compounded by the damage caused by the desert locust invasions, especially in the northern pastoral areas.
The government has moved to adopt cashless disbursement to vulnerable persons and other beneficiaries of its programmes due to high preference and availability of services such as M-PESA that has more than 257,000 agents across the country.
“We are happy to partner and support the government’s nationwide efforts to provide immediate relief to the affected households in ASAL counties. Besides facilitating direct cash transfers through our M-PESA bulk payment service, we have waived transaction fees (transfer and withdrawal). This will enable the beneficiaries to receive the intended full amount of KES 3,000,” said Peter Ndegwa, Safaricom’s Chief Executive Officer.
In the recent past, development partners including the United Nations World Food Programme, UNICEF, Oxfam Kenya, Red Cross, Concern Worldwide, Shikilia coalition among other NGOs, launched cash transfers through M-PESA to supplements Government humanitarian support to vulnerable communities in Kenya, including informal settlements in Nairobi.