By CECIL ODONGO
The government in partnership with World Food Program (WFP) has pledged to implement cash transfer programme to rescue residents from arid and semi- arid areas affected by hunger and drought.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa on Monday said the partnership with WFP is part of the ministry’s strategic plan 2018-2022 that will help save lives of residents from the Northern frontier counties that were adversely affected by drought.
“The government has always encountered problems when transporting food stuffs to save lives of people from arid and semi- arid areas of northern Kenya. The relief food from the government always arrives late due to rugged terrain and banditry,” Mr. Wamalwa said.
“With the help of WFP, we have devised a formula to determine how residents from the dry counties will be allocated money through cash transfer programme during drought so as to help them buy foodstuffs instead of waiting for the government assistance which sometimes take long to reach them,” said Mr. Wamalwa during the signing of the agreement with WFP representative in Kenya Annalisa Conte in Nairobi.
The CS also said the four-year partnership seeks to ensure that Kenya engages in projects in that will help change the economy of the arid counties.
“We shall use technology to empower residents from arid counties to improve agriculture and eliminate hunger. Since last year, we have used Sh1 billion to feed one million people from Northern Kenya. We have to change ways of doing things to ensure such resources are used to empower them. We must prepare early for drought and plan for the future to avoid hunger-related deaths,” added Mr. Wamalwa.
MS Conte said WFP will continue to assist Kenya by offering relief food during drought and ensure that the country comes up with strategic plan 2018-2022 to build a strong capacity in governance and social welfare of its citizens.
“We have been working together with Kenya and it is time we help the country to come up with measures that ensure citizens from semi-arid areas get assistance and engage in projects that uplift their lives. We shall use the cash transfer programme to ensure everyone is assisted during emergencies such as drought and floods,” said Ms Conte.
Earlier, the CS visited Inland Container Depot in Embakasi, Nairobi, to receive 200,000 bags of rice which is part of the relief food donated to Kenya by the Chinese Government to those affected by drought.