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State cushions Samburu residents against hunger pangs

The government has launched a Sh387 million Hunger Safety Net Programme that is set to cushion drought-stricken residents from Samburu, Isiolo, Garissa and Tana River counties.

The cash transfer programme, which was launched by Cabinet Secretary (CS) for the East African Community, Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) and Regional Development Rebecca Miano at Sere Olipi village in Samburu east subcounty, is among the four National Government cash transfer programmes under the Inua Jamii initiative and the government’s drought recovery efforts.

Miano said the Hunger Safety Net Program (HSNP) will be managed by the ASAL ministry through the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA).

In Samburu County alone, 6,215 vulnerable beneficiaries have been identified and will each receive Sh 5,400 every two months. Out of these, 4,427 beneficiaries are women, which represents more than 70 percent of all people receiving cash transfers on behalf of their families.

“This move has empowered women to make decisions on household expenditure and I believe it will propel us closer to the objective of reducing hunger at household level”, noted the CS.

East African Community, Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) and Regional Development CS Rebecca Miano during the launch of the cash transfer programmer in Samburu East, where 65 families benefited from ten goats per family to enable them rebuild their herds after the prolonged drought.

At the same time, Miano distributed 650 goats worth Sh 4.98 million to 65 families to enable them restock their herds, which were depleted by the prolonged drought while the remaining became too weak to withstand the rainy season.

She noted that the goats were sourced from local herders and the money in circulation will help improve their living standards.

“Each of those families has received 10 goats to start rebuilding their herds and also through the NDMA, the ministry has rehabilitated the Marti and Elmekuri water pans in Samburu north. We have also provided a hay bailer to a community in Loosuk village in Samburu west to support fodder preservation and also supplied 12 schools with water tanks, all at a cumulative cost of Sh. 13.6 million,” the CS said.

On his part, NDMA chairman Raphael Nzomo said that the authority is already working with the community and local leaders on long-term drought mitigation projects.

Samburu Women Representative Pauline Lenguris said that poverty levels in Samburu have increased due to several failed rain seasons and thanked the government for the various drought mitigation interventions in the county.

The HSNP is one of the components of the larger Kenya social and economic inclusion projects funded by the government of Kenya, UK foreign Aid, Commonwealth and Development Office and the World Bank.

By Robert Githu

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