Safaricom Foundation Supports Kenya's Drought Response Initiative

March 4, 2011:  The Safaricom Foundation has today donated Sh9.2 million to the Kenya Drought Response Initiative towards addressing Kenya's perennial drought and famine emergencies.

Channelled through the Kenya Red Cross Society, the funds will go towards sinking and rehabilitation of boreholes in Wajir and Turkana areas, some of the hotspots worst hit by the prevailing drought and famine.

Locals in these areas, mostly pastoralists, trek for long distances in search of water for domestic use and their livestock.

The Kenya Drought Response Initiative launched by the Kenya Red Cross Society early this year comes in response to effects of La Nina which are currently being experienced in various counties in Rift Valley, Eastern, North Eastern and Coast provinces.

The initiative seeks to mobilize Ksh. 1.9 billion in cash, kind or services to help alleviate human suffering of 1,860,000 beneficiaries for six months.

According to the Kenya Red Cross Society General, Mr. Abbas Gullet, there have been reports of livestock deaths, acute food shortage and increased migration by pastoralist communities due to depletion of pasture and water for livestock; a situation likely to spark off conflicts over dwindling pasture and water resources with host communities.

"At this point in time, early action is critical in mitigation as the situation continues to unfold," said Mr. Gullet while receiving the cheque at Safaricom House.

Mr. Les Baillie, Safaricom Foundation Chairman reiterated that the Foundation is keen on addressing social challenges among Kenyan communities, especially those exposed to adverse weather conditions. He said access to water is critical among these communities.

"Most recently we partnered with Kenya Red Cross in implementing a multi-million water project which will benefit over 6,000 people in Mwingi District. This demonstrates how funding water projects is key on our development agenda," said Mr. Baillie.

Mr. Baillie said the Kenya Drought Response Initiative will help improve livelihoods of people living in marginalized areas and cushion farmers from such erratic weather conditions.

Among the proposed short-term interventions by the Kenya Red Cross Society is the rehabilitation of strategic boreholes which would serve migrating animals immediately and enhance peace initiatives to avoid conflicts.


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