In 2011 Kenya experienced a severe drought brought about by the effects of La’ Nina.
Turkana was badly hit and many Kenyans and livestock succumbed to death because of lack of water and food yet the region is endowed with underground water running into billions of liters.
The plight of these community brought together Kenyan’s under the umbrella of Kenya’s for Kenya spear headed by Safaricom and Kenya Red cross.
Over Sh1 billion was contributed by Kenyans to save humanity faced with starvation.
The initiative dubbed ‘Kenyans for Kenya’ (K4K), launched a rapid response initiative to raise funds to provide emergency assistance to vulnerable people, particularly children, the elderly, nursing mothers and the sick.
The initiative was driven, on behalf of Kenyans, by a steering committee comprising representatives from KRCS, Safaricom Foundation, Kenya Commercial Bank Foundation, Gina Din Corporate Communications and the Media Owners Association.
This was the best ever initiative believed to be transparent and expected to deliver a long lasting solution,never again was the word hunger to be mentioned in Turkana
Involving the Chief Executive Officers of the private sector companies elevated the perceived importance of the campaign and created ownership among the major donors.
The fundraising, at Nairobi’s Serena Hotel and which was beamed live to the country by all major TV stations, under the umbrella of Kenyans for Kenya underscored the overwhelming gesture of Kenyans’ spirit of giving when they raised Sh301 million in just under three hours.
In a show of patriotism and solidarity with Kenyans, chief executive officers and managers of close to 200 of Kenya’s who-is-who in the corporate and media sectors — some of them fierce competitors — eschewed their differences and shared tables before taking turns to pledge their contributions and those of their staff.
And as they did this, Kenyans from all walks of life across the country were all the while sending their donations via mobile money transfer services set up by Safaricom, Airtel and Orange, with the figures rising by the minute.
Other funds were being received through accounts set up at the Kenya Commercial Bank and Equity Bank and through sale of T-shirts designed to spread the message.
Leading the pack of donors was Google Africa, which donated $1 million (Sh92 million), Equity Bank Sh20 million and Kenya Airways and East African Breweries that gave Sh10 million each.
During the ceremonial luncheon where no food was actually served, Kenya Red Cross Society Secretary-General Abbas Gullet — whose organization was to manage the fund said the solution to the problem was for the country to have mid- and long-term solutions.
“It is the Government’s fundamental responsibility to take care of its people by providing water, road infrastructure and other facilities that would enable people, especially those in least developed areas, to be self-reliant,” said Gullet.
He termed the initiative as the biggest and most participatory by Kenyans in helping fellow Kenyans.
“We have proved today that together we can make a big difference in helping our fellow Kenyans who are in need”.Safaricom then CEO Bob Collymore said he was astonished by the debate about whether people were dying of hunger or not, saying that what he witnessed in Turkana was the death of peoples’ dignity.
“I saw men who lost their dignity because of the hunger but what lifted my spirit was the young men and women distributing food and assisting the weak to walk to where the distribution took place,” said Collymore.
The Deputy Chairman and Chief Strategist of the Standard Group, Mr Paul Melly, called for long-term solutions to once-and-for-all fix the cycle of hunger and food crisis experienced in the country over and over again.
“We can’t as a nation be providing money and food to Red Cross every year to feed the people. This must come to an end. We need to address this problem,” said Melly.
Now the question in many Kenyans lip is if such an initiative took place,Devolution came in,Turkana is the largest recipient of Devolved funds among counties why is there hunger?does it mean no solution can ever be reached no matter what.
Baringo is another county with red alert ,former President Daniel Moi ruled for decades as President and Vice President,Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui hails from there too.
Its the same song years after years,decades after decades.