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Agency accuses unscrupulous Kenyans of preying on funds for the disabled, launches short code to report injustices

By Standard Reporter | November 15th 2015 at 21:10:13 GMT +0300

Equal Africa CEO Edda Maina and Father Henry Simalo during the launch of SMS Short Code 21214 that will be used to report incidents of injustice on people with disabilities.

Some unscrupulous people are pocketing from Government coffers, stipends meant for the elderly, orphans and people living with disabilities.

Equal Africa CEO Eddah Maina said her organization had received various complaints from victims and forwarded the same to the Government for further action.

She said in the month of November alone, the NGO that works closely with the Kenya Society for the Physically handicapped had received six complaints of underpayment by civil servants to orphans and expressed disgust at the matter.

“We are shocked that this is how low some people have sunk in an effort to generate illegal wealth”, Maina said.

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She said Equal Africa Patron Bishop Cornelius Korir has raised the matter with the relevant authorities to ensure that the vice is mitigated.

Maina said Equal Africa had identified various mechanisms to support such initiatives and was in the process of developing synergies to help fast truck their implementation.

Speaking on behalf of Eldoret Bishop Cornellius Korir during the launch of a national wide telephone based System to assist vulnerable people, Father Henry Simalo said mitigating challenges faced by vulnerable groups must be tackled if equality is to be realised and enhanced in Kenya.

The Telephone Based system will be supported by a Short SMS Code 21214 which is already fully operational.

Simalo said people living with disabilities in Kenya and the elderly are the most vulnerable in Kenya, adding that this latest initiative will add value.

“Mobille penetration in Kenya has improved tremendously hence the need for telephony based communication systems in line with changing consumer trends,” Simalo said.

The prelate noted that social media applications such as Whatsapp, Telegram, Facebook and Twitter were now popular communication channels across all age groups, hence the need to utilise them to the maximum.

Speaking during the same function, Equal Africa’s Maina lauded the support by religious organisations in supporting initiatives to assist the vulnerable in the society.

He said the level of awareness about the challenges facing this important segment of the society had increased, hence the need to initiate tangible means of assisting these groups.

Maina said Equal Africa and Kenya Society for the Mentally Handicapped (KSMH) have in the last 44 years initiated major innovative ways to help the vulnerable and the marginalised and appealed for support from the public to help develop the initiatives further.

“One of these major achievements has been the successful lobbying of government to begin the cash transfer programmes for vulnerable people that began in 2009”, she said.

She said the national wide telephone –based service will cover the whole country in a bid to improve efficiency.

It will provide an interactive mobile-based service to the vulnerable people among them the elderly, people with disabilities, orphans, and the poor families.

During the occasion, vulnerable people gave moving accounts of how they have had to bear with the pain of discrimination and looting of their funds by disgruntled elements.

Maina said there is need for the Government to act tough on people who embezzle funds meant to assist the less fortunate in society, adding that in the past, the issue has affected Kenyans in a  negative way.

This will assist in identifying those people who are most needy and help coordinate their services in a transparent and effective process.

“We now have the opportunity to make a difference by using this system to get our services better coordinated and based on genuine requirements of help from government and/or the private sector”, she said.

 Maina said the initiative will help determine how vulnerable the people are their priority needs and possible ways of mitigating the challenge.

“The system will enable you to tell your story, including where you live, the challenges you face, and any assistance that you require”, Maina said.

Ultimately, this service will ensure that neighbours report vulnerable and stigmatised people in the society using the number.

Maina said the new system is easy to navigate, fast and very reliable, adding that the move will ensure more protection to such groups.

In addition Father Simalo said that the system was easy and can be easily used by each and every person with any type of mobile phone.

“The system will not require Internet service to operate. It is also convenient and most affordable tool,” Maina said.

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