Safaricom, partners launch Pamoja Tuungane initiative to rally Kenyans to assist communities in drought-stricken areas

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Safaricom PLC, the M-PESA Foundation, Safaricom Foundation, KCB Foundation, Naivas, Ernst & Young, Royal Media Services, Nation Media Group, Media Max, The Standard Group and Radio Africa Group have come together to launch Pamoja Tuungane, an initiative aimed at rallying Kenyans to come together and support those suffering from the effects of the prolonged drought by raising funds to provide emergency assistance to drought-stricken areas in Kenya.

Pamoja Tuungane is targeting all the 23 counties in the ASAL (Arid and semi-arid lands) region affected by the drought starting with Marsabit which is currently at the alarm phase of food and nutrition security. According to the Short Rains Assessment (SRA) conducted in February this year, in Marsabit County, over 276,000 people in the region require immediate humanitarian assistance and 92,000 of them are unable to meet all their food requirements at the household level.

In Kenya, the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) occupy over 80% of the country’s landmass and is home to about 36% of the population, 70% of the national livestock and 90% of wildlife. The annual rainfall in arid areas ranges between 150 mm and 550 mm and semi-arid areas between 550 mm and 850 mm per year.

Safaricom and partners are working with the Ministry of Public Service and Gender, Senior Citizens Affairs and Special Programmes to identify the households and help with last mile distribution. Ernst & Young will audit of every item and money donated and ensure everything is used for its intended purpose and every targeted household reached.

Naivas has food hampers at discounted prices that Kenyans can buy and will be transported to Marsabit. Safaricom subscribers can use their Bonga Points towards this initiative or give cash donations to Paybill 444777. To donate your Bonga Points, simply dial *126# and select “Bonga for Food “. You will then have the option to put any Bonga point amount or the specified Bonga points. Once you have chosen your preferred option, you will be asked to input your Service PIN to complete the transaction. If you have forgotten your Service PIN, simply click forget to reset it. Non-Safaricom subscribers can go to the nearest Naivas Supermarket and buy the food hampers or donate by paying directly into the Pay bill 444777.

The Pamoja Tuungane initiative is a timely move as livelihoods of pastoral and agropastoral zones have been adversely affected by three consecutive failed rainy seasons leading to mass livestock deaths and total crop failure. In September 2021, H.E Uhuru Kenyatta declared drought a national disaster and funds have been set aside to assist the affected families. However, the food security situation has been on a worsening trend in the Arid and Semi-Arid (ASAL) counties in Kenya with about 3.1 million people needing immediate food aid based on the assessment.

Safaricom and the other partners feel that though the government is enforcing strategies of food distribution to these areas, corporates also have a role to play not just in the short-term but in long-term initiatives as well.