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Locals in North Eastern Kenya shun relief food for cash transfers

By Protus Onyango | Published Mon, June 8th 2015 at 00:00, Updated June 7th 2015 at 20:27 GMT +3
Lekutan Lemarote and his wife at their shop at Komote village. They are among beneficiaries of the cash transfer scheme. [PHOTO: PROTUS ONYANGO/STANDARD]

The most vulnerable residents living in the county’s arid areas now have one message to the Government, they want money not relief food.

This is after receiving money through the Government’s Hunger Safety Net Programme which is an unconditional poverty-based social protection project that delivers regular and predictable cash transfers to vulnerable households.

The county has 21,000 beneficiaries who are paid Sh4,900 on a bi-monthly basis.

Recipients say receiving this money has transformed their lives and they no longer want the unpredictable relief food which they used to receive.

For Galaho Buroya, Kulamo Ogom and Sabthiyo Idris of Milimani Centre in Kargi township, who are all widows with a total of 22 children, the money has not only taken away the pain of losing their breadwinners but also allowed them to pay fees, buy household goods, build iron sheet-roofed houses and engage in business.

“I got an accumulated seven month amount totaling Sh30,000 and was able to buy 30 goats at Sh500 each which I intend to sell later on. I have also built a good semi-permanent house and I am paying fees for my daughter at a teacher training college in Nakuru,” said Buroya, a 60-year-old mother of 11.

Profitable trade

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For 44-year-old Ogom, the money has empowered her so much that she has refused to be inherited.

“When I got the money I joined a merry-go-round of four people and saved for a while. Then I bought two goats, a mattress and a basin. I am assured of food every day in my house,” Ogom said.

On her part, Sabthiyo, a mother of five, has opened a small retail shop.

“I got Sh30,000 and used Sh10,000 to open this shop and now use subsequent instalments to restock it. I have very many customers and make a profit of between Sh1,000 to Sh5,000 per month,” she said.

The project also received accolades from Governor Ukur Yattani.

“We have identified 2,000 households and gave them Sh15 million with Sh50 million set for the coming year.

We have realised it is better to give them money since it enables them manage their lives,” he said.

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