Companies pump millions into national kitty to fight drought

Residents offload flour and other foodstuffs donated by Chandaria Foundation and Rotary Club at The Village Training Centre in Tigania East, Meru on November 20, 2022. [Phares Mutembei, Standard]

More corporates have heeded President William Ruto’s call for Kenyans to assist those affected by the ongoing drought.

Co-operative Bank of Kenya, The Chandaria Foundation, Rotary Club of Nairobi and The Standard Group are the latest firms to contribute towards the kitty.

Coop Bank has donated Sh150 million.

“Co-op Bank joins other Kenyans and indeed the global community of goodwill in supporting the fundraising appeal initiated by his excellency the President, with a key contribution of Sh150 million to support families affected by the historic drought that is ravaging different parts of the country,” said Chief Executive Gideon Muriuki at the weekend.

This was during the International Leadership graduation in Karen, Nairobi.

The Chandaria Foundation, Rotary Club of Nairobi and The Standard Group on Saturday visited Meru, Isiolo and Samburu on Saturday, where they targeted schools with students most affected by the ongoing drought.

Among the beneficiaries included 47 schools in affected counties, after head teachers expressed concerns that students, including those who are due to sit their national examinations, faced difficult conditions to successfully do the exams.

Nearly 20,000 students from the schools got food to last them the remaining part of the term, about two weeks.

Over 300 households in Meru and Samburu also got the rations, with a single family having an average of five members.

The beneficiaries received sugar, rice, cooking oil, flour, green grams, beans, maize flour, fortified porridge flour, tea leaves, and other assorted food items. Nelson Mburu, representing the Chandaria Foundation and the Rotary Club said they were focusing on sustainable projects that would ensure communities were not dependent on relief food.

“We will give the food but we do not want to be coming here every year. What we want to focus on is sustainable projects,” he said, adding that sinking of boreholes will provide opportunities for long-lasting solutions.

Other corporates that have also contributed to this kitty include Safaricom, which gave Sh200 million as firms dip into their profits to help alleviate the hunger crisis that has seen Kenyans in more than 23 countries go without food and livestock die from lack of pasture.

Equity Bank gave Sh100 million towards an initiative that is aimed at helping Kenyans living in arid and semi-arid parts of the country.

East African Breweries Ltd gave Sh30 million towards the Kenya Association of Manufacturer’s humanitarian initiative geared toward raising funds for food distribution to families across the country facing starvation.

Nutritional support

Termed one of the worst droughts in over 40 years, it has hit such counties as Garissa, Isiolo, Kajiado, Kitui, Mandera, Marsabit, Laikipia, Samburu, Turkana, and Wajir among others.

Over 4.35 million Kenyans in these counties are affected by the drought.

Among them are 900,000 children and 120,000 pregnant and lactating mothers who require urgent nutritional support.

The initiative is targeting to raise big cash to be used to support the government’s programmes in the affected countries.

The government will soon table a mini-budget in the National Assembly, with funds being reallocated from non-essential items to the fight against the drought, which has contributed to the jump in the cost of living.

In a circular, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Professor Njuguna Ndung’u said the government is facing pressures emanating from the drought.