Aug 22, 2011

M-PESA Scheme Will Help Plight of Malnourished Children in Kenya

Concern worldwide,an international humanitarian organisation dedicated to tackling poverty and suffering in the world's poorest countries,has set up an aid initiative in the slums of Nairobi to combat the sharp increase in severe malnutrition in slums.
Photo credit:Concer Worldwide

Concern Operates in the urban slums of Nairobi and Kisumu, and their urban nutrition project addresses the rising levels of acute malnutrition in mothers and small children.

Concern worldwide plans to use M-PESA money transfer service to enable people to buy food. This initiative was developed in June and July. It is hoped that the initiative will help 20,000 people over the next five months.

Concern says it began noticing an increase in cases of severe malnutrition among children under five in the slums of Korogocho and Viwandani in January.

Carefully selected beneficiaries are allocated SIM cards. Concern then deposits ksh1500 (about $16) on the SIM card at the start of the season. The beneficiaries can withdraw the money by visiting an M-PESA agent. Concern carries out spot-checks to see how the money has been spent.

Concern says it has seen a sharp increase in the admission of severely malnourished children at Concern-supported health centres in the slums of Nairobi. The number jumped to 421 in April from 255 in January,although they dropped to 279 in June. So far in August,there have been 71 such admissions and three deaths.

After Kenya's post-election violence,escalating,food prices,difficult global economic conditions and the current drought in East Africa,food has become an expensive luxury to many poor people in slams. The urban poor have been forced to buy less and eat fewer meals,according to concern.

This program will most definitely save lives of poor children in slum areas of Nairobi and I intended to blog more about how Concern Worldwide is deploying mobile money to fight malnutrition in Kenya.