The private sector has urged cooperation with the public sector, media, and civil society to find long-term drought mitigation measures.
The sentiments were made during the launch of the ‘Pamoja Tuungane’ campaign aimed at rallying Kenyans to support those suffering from the effects of the prolonged drought.
During the event, Safaricom PLC and M-PESA Foundation flagged off foodstuff worth over KES 100 million shillings to be distributed to some of the hardest-hit counties starting in Marsabit.
The country’s largest supermarket chain, Naivas which is supplying the food hampers is also supporting the donation by providing free logistics. Meanwhile, the country’s top media houses including Mediamax, Nation Media Group, Radio Africa, Royal Media, and the Standard Group have pledged to use their reach to raise awareness about the campaign.
Kenyans have also been encouraged to donate their Bonga Points or cash to enable the purchase of food items to be distributed to some of the worst-affected counties.
“While we are still in discussions will all stakeholders about the long-term initiatives, we know all too well the importance of having some short-term actions to deal with the current situation. We are calling upon other private sector players to join us in supporting those suffering from the effects of drought because we are all aware that we cannot thrive if the community around us is in anguish. We are also giving the opportunity for Safaricom customers who want to donate by allowing them to contribute their Bonga points by dialing *126# and selecting Pamoja Tuungane”, said Peter Ndegwa, CEO, Safaricom
“Our mantra as Naivas is that we exist to make other people’s lives better, and we remain true to this principle. As a homegrown brand, we cannot sit by as our fellow communities are in anguish and it is for this reason that we are honored to be part of this initiative. In as much as we cannot do all the good the world needs, we believe that the world needs all the good we can give”, said David Kimani, Naivas Managing Director.
KCB Foundation has pledged an immediate KES 2.5million cash relief support as well as long-term support through training and equipping farmers through aggregators with climate-smart agricultural practices to mitigate against the dire impacts of climate change to the tune of KES 100 million.
“The long-term support to mitigate against climate change is crucial for us, as we will train the farmers from Arid and Semi-Arid counties on climate-resilient practices. This will contribute towards a food-secure future and ensure our communities adapt to survive against the increasing drought patterns” said KCB Group Director, Marketing, Corporate Affairs, and Citizenship Rosalind Gichuru
The Pamoja Tuungane campaign comes as the latest recommendation by the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) called for the provision of food assistance and scaling up of cash transfers to households in 23 counties that are currently food insecure as a result of the prevailing drought stress.
“As an organisation, our mission is to positively influence society with a mandate to be a voice for the voiceless in the community. Right now, the voiceless are fellow Kenyans who have been hard hit by the ongoing drought. Over the last few weeks, we have highlighted their plight across our print, broadcast and digital platforms. We commit to deploy our platforms through this partnership with Safaricom and other like-minded organisations to continue propelling awareness about the current situation across borders and galvanize action towards ensuring that no other Kenyan dies of hunger. We strongly believe that we are responsible for those around us, and as such cannot stand by and watch as our country men suffer”, said Stephen Gitagama, GCEO, Nation Media Group.
The government has already issued an alarm warning that the number of hunger-stricken Kenyans could rise to 3.5 million by June from the current 3.1 million given the prediction of a poor March-May rainy season.