Airtel Corporate Communications Director Michael Okwiri (left) presents Sh12 million dummy cheque to Jane Karuku and Kennedy Kihara of the Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund Board at KICC. [Edward Kiplimo,Standard]

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, and employees of Airtel and KenGen are among the latest individuals to contribute to the coronavirus fund initiative.

Airtel employees donated Sh12.7 million, while the Kalonzo Musyoka Foundation gave Sh3 million to the Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund.

MrMusyoka asked the response team to think of post-Covid-19 recovery strategies, as well as better solutions to such calamities in the future.

“I believe this pandemic has taught us a lot. It’s time to think of the future so that we do not have to rely on countries like China for items like masks. We need to prepare ourselves adequately so that we can handle ourselves better in case something like this ever strikes us again,’’ he said during a handover ceremony for the donation at the fund’s offices at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC).

Airtel Director of Corporate Communication Michael Okwiri said the telco’s donation comprised voluntary employee contributions in support of the government’s initiative.

“Most of these funds come from the salaries of our employees who voluntarily decided to come together in support of the country during these tough times. Our employees decided to go on with this initiative for the next three months. This was the first contribution and we are grateful to our team,” said Mr Okwiri.

He further said the company has partnered with other institutions to make life easier for people working from home, and for children engaged in online learning.

Among the measures the telco has instituted are free access to educational sites and removing transaction fees for mobile money transfers.

Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) on Wednesday handed over its donation to the fund.

Speaking at the event, Managing Director Rebecca Miano, said KenGen had joined hands with the government and other stakeholders to offer economic and social support to vulnerable communities across the country who have been impacted by Covid-19.

“As KenGen, we take this opportunity to thank the government for establishing the Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund, which has been instrumental in mobilising resources towards containing the spread, effect and impact of the coronavirus disease,” she said.

Hygiene efforts

The company, she added, had set aside an additional Sh10 million towards supporting the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended hygiene efforts among communities living near its installations across the country.

The additional cash will go towards purchasing hand sanitisers, liquid soap and water tanks.

While receiving the donations, fund chairperson Jane Karuku said so far the fund has received a total of Sh2.6 billion from well-wishers, and encouraged other corporates to donate to the fight against the deadly virus.

“We are grateful for the people chipping in to contribute towards this good cause. We encourage people to continue supporting us in whichever way they can. Nothing is too little – we have received a minimum of Sh10 and we are grateful for the gesture,” said Ms  Karuku.

She added that some of the money collected with start to be used in the coming week.

“We will start spending these funds from next week. We will use Sh600 million on buying personal protective equipment (PPE) for all the 47 counties, and also donate some to health institutions, such as Kenyatta University and Kenyatta National hospitals, as well as the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret.”

Karuku noted that the support and goodwill towards the Covid-19 initiative continues to be encouraging, with corporates, foundations, religious institutions and individuals donating.

So far, the fund has raised Sh2,149,218,950 in cash and Sh505,836,250 in food and non-food items. The fund has also coordinated in-kind food donations worth Sh272,024,734.

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