Senior members of the society and guardians of people with severe disabilities in Kiambu County have been advised to sparingly spend the stipends they recieve from the government.
Kiambu County Social development officer Ms. Mary Nyambura while advising the elderly who sought assistance from her office told them to desist from rushing to withdraw their stipends from their bank accounts immediately they received an alert from the banking institutions or her office.
“That money can remain on the account without attracting any penalties for a period of 6 months.During this time, you can stagger the withdrawals so that you only go for the specific amount of money you need” she said. “ If you need to buy an item just go for the specific amount so that you do not overspend and become extravagant which only goes for a short time”said the officer.
Ms. Nyambura said the beneficiaries can also save their stipends which comes with arrears by leaving it on their accounts so that they can be able to engage into a profitable venture that required bulk money. This money when left on account for some months can translate to some big amount which your families can eventually spend on a long term project which can in turn be a source of income for the larger family, she noted.
She revealed that there were 42,557 elderly citizens currently on the programme in Kiambu County while those living with disabilities were 984 whose caretakers receive stipends on their behalf. The money is channeled towards paying their social -economic needs thus enabling them to live comfortably or cushion them against vagaries of poverty.
The programme was launched in 2007 by the Kenya Government so that the elderly from 65 years could get stipends to sustain them. Later in 2017, it upgraded the beneficiaries to those aged 70 and above who are not pensionable.
According to the Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey (KIHBS) of 2005/06, the absolute poverty in Kenya was 49.1% and 33.7% for rural and urban areas respectively. Older Persons constitute a sizeable percentage of this segment of the population of the poor in the country. The situation is worse amongst older women who face many barriers and discriminatory treatment during their lifetime,thus drawing the attention from the government and development partners.
Beneficiaries of the program have therefore appreciated the gesture by the Government noting that their needs are catered for and help them age gracefully.
Daniel Mugo, an octogenarian from Kiambaa told KNA that he was able to save the money when he realized that payment was being delayed. “I then started keeping chicken which i sell when they mature.All i do is restock and buy chicks from my neighbors who sell them to me at a negotiable price.”
Thereafter, he told KNA from his bank in Kiambu that he sold the chicken to the same neighbors during festive seasons and that they were able to pay the amount he asked for bearing in mind that his were indigenous and were heavy enough for a large family.
Mary Wakarugi while queuing to be paid her stipends at the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) agent within Kiambu law courts told KNA that the stipends had enabled her to restock her grocery which was run by her daughter.“ Had the government not have come up with the programme, we would have been a burden to our extended families which are not well off.”she noted.
According to the 2009 census, the population of Older Persons aged 60 to 80+ was 5% of the total population. Out of this total, women formed 53.4% compared to men who accounted for 46.6%. Ageing affects men and women differently; physiologically, culturally, socially and economically therefore calling for intervention from relevant stakeholders.
By Lydia Shiloya