17 December 1999

Kenya: Another Sh1m For Food Kitty

Nairobi — The Nation Famine Relief Fund yesterday received a Sh1 million boost from the Christian Children's Fund. ActionAid Kenya and the Christian Children's Fund (CCF) are the only organisations that have donated Sh1 million each towards the fund.

The Fund's director, Ms Margery Kabuya, presented the cheque to the Nation Media Group Chief Executive, Mr. Wilfred Kiboro.

Ms Kabuya said the Group had provided alternative leadership when it launched the fund in November to help feed the people of Turkana. She said Christian Children's Fund donated Sh1 million because they do not operate in the area worst hit in Turkana.

"Although we work in Turkana, we do not work in the areas worst hit by famine. We, however, hope this money will go a long way in helping the starving," she said.

Ms Kabuya, who was accompanied by sponsor relations manager David Kang'ethe and programme officer Oliver Kantai, called for a lasting solution to end recurring famine in Turkana. She said CCF had provided 10 boats to people living around L.Turkana and had introduced irrigation along Turkwel River.

"These areas were not badly affected by famine because the residents harvested cassava and were fishing in the lake," she said.

Ms Kabuya called on other NGOs to help develop the fish industry and irrigate the land.

Mr. Kiboro thanked CCF for the generous donation and appealed to other corporate bodies to emulate their example.

"The Fund stands at Sh7.5 million, but this is a drop in the ocean. A lot more is still needed and we are appealing to corporate organisations to chip in to help alleviate the situation in Turkana District," he said.

Mr. Kiboro, however, said the famine-stricken people need a sustainable solution to the problem and not piecemeal donations. He said the campaign will run until mid-January and money collected will be used to buy food.

Mr. Kiboro said the food was being bought through competitive bidding. Mr. Kiboro thanked those who were donating to the fund in kind. He said the food and clothes donated ran into millions of shillings.

Meanwhile, the Eldoret Aviation Training Institute donated Sh3,000, clothes and food to the Nation Famine Relief fund.

The donation was presented by institute principal Jackson Iravuhah and received by Nation's North Rift marketing manager Ken Rotich.

The principal, Mr. Jackson Iravuhah, says a lasting solution should be found to the frequent famine in the country.

Mr. Jackson Iravuhah, a former Eldoret International Airport operations manager, said was need for the government should enact better food policies to protect the agricultural industry from collapse and assure Kenyans of food security.

Speaking during the presentations of food donations, clothes, shoes and Sh3,000 in aid of the Nation Famine Relief Fund, the principal suggested that producers including pastoralists should be empowered to have direct control of resources within their limit.

The donation collected from the Institute Staff, students and management was received by the North Rift Marketing Manager Mr. Ken Rotich on behalf of the Nation Media Group.

Mr. Iravuhah said at the college hall that Kenyans did not like a situation whereby they will be forced to be issuing assistance to famine stricken families in the country every year and urged the state come up with a better food policy.

Mr. Iravuhah said some semi-arid areas in the country are potential for food production if better methods of farming were used, a thing that could help eradicate poverty and fight famine.

The principal appealed to Non-Governmental Organisations with the cooperation of the government to start projects in semi arid areas in the country that could benefit the locals and stop over-reliance on relief food.

The administrator attributed the collapse of farmers bodies in the country such as the Kenya Co-operative Creameries, Kenya Farmers Association and Kenya Meat Commission among others to have led to the drop of food production in the country.

In normal years, before the collapse of the institutions, he added, the Turkana's who are currently hard hit by famine could sale their livestock and use the money received to purchase food stuffs "while other producers could also double their production as they are assured of markets and enjoy low costs of production."

The former airport operations manager added, "but we are glad the state is making efforts to revive KCC and we hope it could also address other problems facing farmers in the country."

The institute community, he said, decided to assist the hunger stricken families in Turkana "because we believe if part of the community is ailing we are also ailing."

"Some of them even denied themselves meals, bus fare, shoes or clothes to assist our brothers and sisters in Turkana on the spirit of brotherhood," he said.

Mr. Iravuhah appealed to other institutions to assist those affected by famine in parts of the country to prevent much suffering and more lose of lives.

The principal thanked the NMG for starting a radio and television station but urged its management to find ways of expanding to the rural areas "where the group enjoys a larger audience."

Majority of Kenyans liked the NMG because of its objective coverage of issues affecting the common man, he said.

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