A total 18,000 vulnerable people in Baringo County are set to benefit from a Sh8 million county social protection support programme that seeks to address their socio-economic needs.
Speaking during the launch of the subsidy programme at his office in Kabarnet, Baringo Governor Stanley Kiptis said the move was geared towards supporting disadvantaged members of the society from all the 30 wards who have been overlooked for many years.
Kiptis said his administration has teamed up with Bethany Kids, a faith-based organization in conjunction with other partners to actualize the one-year programme, which has kicked off with provisions of 50 wheelchairs, 10 tons of fortified food, cash transfer amounting to Sh2,000 per month for 250 beneficiaries for a period of one year, as well as sponsoring a further 250 selected beneficiaries with a Sh500 per month National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) for the same period.
“Our aim is to support disadvantaged special groups including women, youth and people with special needs because they have a right to a better life,” Governor Kiptis said.
He stated that the high number of vulnerable people is attributed to natural disasters like in Tiaty region which has more than 5,400 victims of snake bites, who are suffering from physical challenges that have proved challenging for them to go about with their normal activities.
Governor Kiptis noted that Baringo Central Sub County was ranked highest in avoidable road accidents, having 2,000 boda boda cases that have caused physical injuries to victims.
He said such vulnerable people now require support from both levels of governments, non-state actors and well-wishers for them to continue contributing to the county’s economy.
However, the county boss lamented a growing concern from remote areas, where some members of the community were adamant in registering such special people with the concerned authorities.
He asked the local administration to team up with members of the County Assembly and officials from the county government to identify such people, so that they can be assisted to get material and financial support.
Deputy governor Jacob Chepkwony in his remarks commended the role played by children’s homes and rescue centers in the county in supporting vulnerable groups.
Chepkwony said such facilities have become a lifeline to thousands of children, whose future was uncertain, as they also require support for their effective management.
At the same time, he challenged other county departments to adapt and streamline issues of social protection in order to accommodate more people faced with special needs to build resilience for them.
County Executive Committee (CEC) member for Youth Gender Sports Culture and Social Service Dr. David Sergon challenged special groups to take advantage of the tenders that are allocated for them to finance their enterprises so that they can access treatment and other basic needs.
He also lauded the bill on People Living with Disabilities (PLWD) passed recently by the Baringo County Assembly, which requires every building in the county to have ramps, thus allowing them to access services in the premises easily.
The department’s Chief Officer (CO) Gladys Nasieku called for more support from stakeholders to enable the special groups to get enough assistive devices to ease their mobility.
Nasieku also advised residents to prioritize more funding for the department during public participation for effective support of all the special groups in the county.
By Betty Malakwen and Joshua Kibet