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Laikipia County to provide food aid to 40,000 vulnerable residents

Laikipia County Government has identified 40,000 residents from poor and vulnerable households who will start receiving food aid in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Governor Ndiritu Muriithi, while launching the exercise on Monday outside his Nanyuki office, clarified that his Administration will only provide foodstuff to the targeted 40,000 vulnerable households.

A team of Laikipia county officials and community volunteers over the weekend verified the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) M-Jali database, that lists 40,000 vulnerable households in the county.

“The data developed last year identified 17,000 households that will be considered first into the programme while a second category of 15,000 households would comprise of residents who relied on daily wages but have since lost jobs due to the Covid-19 outbreak,” Governor Muriithi said.

The data also estimates that 10,000 households are already vulnerable due to deteriorating economy occasioned by closure of income streams due to Coronavirus.

“God is seeing you if you want to be listed as needy yet you are not. In this time of crisis, we should be fair towards one another,” the Governor said.

“I want residents to know that it is not every household that will receive a home care package. It is possible that you might miss out on the list and the reason is that you are not among the neediest,” he said.

Laikipia Governor, Ndiritu Muriithi (left), oversees the distribution of Stay-Home Care Packages to vulnerable residents of Kanyoni village over the weekend. The Package includes basic food items such as cereals, maize flour, cooking oil and bar soap. [Photos by Martin Munyi/KNA]

The system based on mobile phone technology might inspire change in the traditional model of relief food distribution in the country which normally happens through the networks of government administrators.

Under the Lisha familia initiative started by the county administration and well-wishers, a small number of the targeted households in Kanyoni village, Nanyuki ward received electronic-vouchers on their mobile phones when the system was subjected to test-run. After the successful test-run, the system will be ready for roll out to the rest of the County.

This proved workable when the pilot households were able to redeem the e-vouchers and collect foodstuffs from a designated collection point over the weekend.

The system helps in observance of the social distancing guidelines as it allocates each household a specific time to collect foodstuff to avoid crowding at the collection point. There are various collection points in the County.

The County Government is eyeing to spend Sh264.5 million to provide the stay-home care package for locals for two months during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are doing this so that only the targeted beneficiaries get the support,we will not need brokers to come up with lists of their beneficiaries as has been the case in the past, as we are using verified data collected scientifically,” Governor Ndiritu Muriithi told the team verifying the database of the household.

Laikipia County Assembly Speaker, Patrick Waigwa, is expected this week to convene a plenary sitting to debate and approve the Governor’s proposal to review the current financial budget to inject adequate funds towards the fight against coronavirus.

Mr Waigwa says members are expected to unanimously endorse the Supplementary Estimates of recurrent and development expenditure for the year ending June 30, 2020.
“When we drafted the current budget, we had not anticipated that this pandemic would spread to our country. That is why we are so keen on approving this proposal by the Executive to ensure that our people are cushioned from suffering,” Speaker Waigwa added.
The County Government seeks to draw Sh741.7 million from its current 2019/2020 budget and inject it into the Covid-19 management kitty.
By Martin Munyi

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