Absa Bank has partnered with World Vision and the County Government of Kitui, to enable vulnerable families recover from the economic impact of COVID-19.

The bank donated Ksh. 4 million to farmers in Yatta village, through the Kitui County Government under its food security enhancement program. This program seeks to address the effects of perennial drought on the residents of Kitui. The funds will be used to procure drought tolerant seed varieties (green grams, cow peas and sorghum), which will be distributed by World Vision.

According to Absa Bank Marketing Communications Director Ms. Caroline Ndung’u, the initiative is aligned to the bank’s commitment to being a force for good in the society.

“As we mark our first anniversary as Absa in Kenya, we acknowledge the power of standing as one, with our people, confronting our challenges and pursuing opportunities together. We have been intentional in contributing to various initiatives that drive sustainable economic growth as well as support the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said Ms. Ndungu.

On their part, World Vision, through their Country Director lauded the move and called on more organizations to join hands to cushion farmers affected by the pandemic.

“At World Vision, we are committed to helping communities affected by natural disasters to not only survive, but recover and thrive. Our mandate is focused on building productive and resilient livelihoods that directly support all aspects of families’ wellbeing,” says World Vision National Director, Lilian Dodzo.

Receiving the funds on behalf of the farmers was Kitui County Governor, H.E Charity Ngilu. She called on corporate organizations and individuals to collaborate towards alleviating the chronic food insecurity challenge affecting communities.

“The Ndegu Revolution and horticultural crop farming is a flagship program that we started in order to enhance food security, by supporting sustainable alternative livelihood recovery operations within the county. It is our hope that more organizations will come on board and help us put an end to food insecurity which has been a challenge for many years,” said Governor Ngilu.

Over the years, Kitui County has had chronic food insecurity and has depended on food aid. According to Lower Yatta Aridland Development Program 2016 baseline report, 87.9% of the households indicated that there were months with low food supply and dietary needs, with 76.7% of households reporting lack of sufficient food for a period between 4 -10 months. 76.3% of households reported reduction in size and number of meals, 76.3% went for days without food and 85% changed diet to less preferred foods as an adaptive short term coping strategy.

Speaking at the event, Absa Director of Corporate and Institutional Banking James Agin stated, “Absa Bank’s ambition is to become a leading, purpose-orientated, African bank that is systemically rooted in the countries it serves. A business that recognizes that its growth is directly linked to the growth of the communities it operates in.”

Kitui County is among the areas in Kenya that face perennial hunger and water problems. It is a food-insecure area, marginal agricultural and agro-pastoral region. Residents not only face food insecurity, but also water scarcity. The most affected areas are Mwingi North, Mwingi Central, Kitui East, Kitui South, and Kitui rural subcounty.