As a drought response intervention, the Government has partnered with Safaricom to facilitate mobile money transfer through MPESA. The money will be distributed to drought stricken households in 23 arid and semi arid land counties.

The collaboration with the State Department of Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizen Affairs and Special Programs will see the first cohort of 360,696 beneficiaries receive Ksh. 1,082,088,000 through M-PESA. Each household will receive Ksh. 3,000 every month until the end of the drought season.

Reports have indicated that over 2.5 million people are currently experiencing food insecurity in the country. The situation continues 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.

“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 the choice of purchase, safeguards the dignity of beneficiaries as well as stimulates local economy. We are happy Safaricom has come on board to support this endeavour,” said Prof. Margaret Kobia, Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizens Affairs and Special Programs.

“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 Ksh. 3,000,” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO Safaricom.

In the recent past, various development partners launched cash transfers through M-PESA to supplements Government humanitarian support to vulnerable communities in Kenya, including informal settlements in Nairobi. These include the United Nations World Food Programme, UNICEF, Oxfam Kenya, Red Cross, Concern Worldwide, Shikilia coalition among other NGOs,