Mobile money for good in new M-PESA partnership
As Christmas approaches, families in 23 counties affected by drought will each be receiving KES3,000 on their phone as the Government deploys technology to avert a food shortage and a likely humanitarian crisis.
In a partnership between the Government and Safaricom, 360,696 households will each receive KES 3,000 through M-PESA on a monthly basis until the situation improves.
Safaricom’s partnership with the State Department of Social Protection to provide the bulk payment service, speaks to the power of collaboration, innovation and technology in the face of a humanitarian crisis and the much needed relief response.
This partnership epitomizes technology for social good on account of efficiency, accountability and traceability especially during a crisis like this and as it happened at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Cash transfers have proven as the most effective way to reach vulnerable persons in times of emergency with accruing benefits including real time receipt of assistance, value for money as the beneficiary has choice of purchase, safeguards the dignity of beneficiaries as well as stimulates local economy,” said Prof. Margaret Kobia, Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizens Affairs and Special Programmes.
“We are happy Safaricom has come on board to support this endeavor. The use of digital financial systems such as M-PESA will also ensure we continue supporting cashless transactions as a recommend measures in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic but will also enhance efficiency and accountability,” she added.
Over 2.5 million people are currently experiencing food insecurity with the situation continuing to deteriorate following the below-average long rain season and further compounded by the damage caused by the desert locust invasions, especially in the northern pastoral areas.
“We are happy to partner and support the government’s nationwide efforts to provide immediate relief to the affected households in ASAL counties. Besides facilitating direct cash transfers through our M-PESA bulk payment service, we have waived transaction fees (transfer and withdrawal). This will enable the beneficiaries to receive the intended full amount of KES 3,000,” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO – Safaricom.
The government has moved to adopt cashless disbursement of benefits to vulnerable persons and other beneficiaries of its programmes due to high preference and availability of services such as M-PESA. M-PESA has more than 257,000 agents across the country meaning most of the population is never more than 2 kilometres from an agent. The service equally provides high transparency and accountability on the flow of funds to the recipient due to high mobile phone usage rates in the country.
To ensure each beneficiary receives the full amount, Safaricom waived transaction fees (transfer and withdrawal fees) worth KES 7.9 million.
The company will then send credit reports on the disbursements to the State Department for Social Protection.
Speaking at the announcement of the partnership, the CEO of M-PESA Africa and Chief Financial Services Officer at Safaricom, Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, said: “Our partnership with the State Department of Social Protection to provide the bulk payment service speaks to the power of collaboration, innovation and technology in the face of a humanitarian crisis and the much needed relief response.”
The partnership is an apt illustration of technology for social good as it brings in efficiency, accountability and traceability. It enables M-PESA to support the resilience and empowerment of communities.
The removal of transaction fees for amounts below KSh100 and the removal of charges for withdrawals and deposits into bank accounts was among the measures implemented to provide Kenyans with relief at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
Safaricom also introduced Bonga for Good, which enabled subscribers to use Bonga Points to pay for goods at supermarkets.