Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalawa has launched a task force with a mandate to look into the digitising and monetisation of relief food distribution and famine management in the country.
The taskforce has been given two months to look into the best way, the government can intervene on drought in a timely fashion and efficiently without nay Kenyan dying from the effects of famine.
“For the last 50 years we have been battling famine providing relief food to populations affected by drought and other disasters,” said Mr Wamalwa when he addressed a press Conference at his Treasury Offices in Nairobi on Wednesday.
According to the CS, the taskforce will, among other things identify various existing systems available for provision of relief support to vulnerable populations.
Most importantly the taskforce will establish the criteria for provision of cash transfer in lieu of food.
“The time has come to now shift from provision of food cash transfer,” he said.
He said through the Chakula kwa Jamii programme, Sh2 billion was disbursed to 1.6 million needy Kenyans affected by drought in 13 Arid and Semi-arid counties in last drought of 2017/2018.
Whilst the money was provided by the World Food programme, the money transfer was done in collaboration with telco giant Safaricom.
“We want to build on this success and hope that in two years all food relief would be technologically driven with money transfer instead of real food distribution taking centre stage,” said Mr Wamalawa who was flanked by members of the taskforce.
He noted that a similar initiative have been done by the National Drought Management Authority through the hunger Safety Net programme that targets 100,000 people in the four counties of Marsabit, Mandera, Tana River and wajir.
More countries including Isiolo, Samburu, and Garissa are set to benefit as well.
The new taskforce in the creation of digital platform for the provision of relief assistance to needy people is a multi-sectorial and multi-agency deriving members from the Ministries of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Labour and Social Protection, Information Communication and Technology, National Drought Management Authority and the World Food Programme.
They start their work immediately.