Red Cross rolls out cash programme for 1500 drought-hit families

Drought-hit Turkana County residents
Twenty percent population in Garissa County in urgent need of food aid - NDMA reports


A total of 1500 families that are severely affected by hunger in Samburu County have been selected to benefit from a cash transfer programme steered by Kenya Red Cross Society.

Speaking to Citizen Digital, Red Cross Operations and Disaster Manager Bernard Bombe said the families drawn from Samburu North (810), Samburu East (400), and Samburu Central (290) sub-counties will each receive Ksh3000 per month from April to cater for their basic needs as per their priority.

Besides being preferred by the beneficiaries in the affected areas, Bombe said the cash transfer programme is advantageous and economical as compared to the normal relief food distribution process.

“It is better if [we] change the way in which we usually distribute relief food because we can save on cost. We hire Lorries and people to distribute relief food and the terrain is not good and might damage [the vehicles]. We have opted to give money as relief aid instead of food in order to save on the cost,” said Mr Bombe.

He assured residents that the organisation would ensure the right channels are used for the money to reach the targeted families across the county.

Samburu County Social Development Officer Muthoni Kahara said Red Cross, in partnership with the government, are working on a mechanism of ensuring the money reaches the targeted beneficiaries despite visible challenges.

“For this case we needed to use Mpesa but we have a network problem. Most people do not have mobile phones and the nearest towns are far from the villages. But we are working on a mechanism where we can bring the money to the people,” she said.

Samburu North Assistant County Commissioner Kennedy Omar urged chiefs to ensure that the money has been used well to benefit the affected families, especially children.

“I urge our chiefs to ensure that this money has been used well to benefit children. It should not be spent on buying and drinking alcohol,” said Omar.

Residents in Samburu County have also welcomed the issuance of money rather than food aid as the money would enable them acquire basic needs according to their families’ priorities.

Alex Lementel, a beneficiary, thanked Kenya Red Cross saying the money would help his wife take care of the children as he spends most of his days herding livestock in the bush.

“I am told the money will be given to my wife who will use it to buy food while I am away,” he said.

Esther Lemagas, another beneficiary, thanked Kenya Red Cross saying the money would help her pay school fees for her child in secondary school.

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