Over a 600 households with malnourished children in Cherab and Ngaremara Isiolo County have benefited from a USaid-funded Sh27 million cash transfer programme to help them fight malnutrition.
The project, implemented by Village Enterprise, is targeting ultra-poor households, pregnant, lactating women and disabled people across 14 villages that are far from local health centres, where children are at risk of repeat acute malnutrition.
Each of the families will receive Sh7,500 every two months for the next one year, the money that is expected to allow them to buy nutritious foods and health products to help them reduce acute malnutrition.
“I’m so happy that my family has been selected to benefit from the programme. We now cannot lack food,” the elated Mr Lokongila, one of the beneficiaries.
The families also benefited from a Sh6 million business grant to 200 groups. The money is meant to enable them to start and boost their businesses for increased income.
The grant, he said, will enable him to start a business and save more to support his family and his children’s education.
“I want to start a viable business that will make me self-reliant in order to stop relying on donations so that other needy families can benefit,” said Mr Lokongila.
Nawiri Programme Coordinator Leah Okero said the groups had been trained on saving for economic empowerment, especially during droughts when they lose their animals and grapple with hunger.
“Each of the group of three households will get Sh30, 000 to start and boost their business for increased income towards self-reliance. We have already recruited 10 business mentors to guide them,” Ms Okero said.
The households will, during the period, be trained on health and nutrition to ensure they improve their feeding practices, especially for pregnant women, infants, young children and disabled people.
Isiolo Deputy Governor Abdi Issa said the programme will help reduce the high rates of acute malnutrition in the region to ensure the current situation does not worsen.
“The programme is timely considering that Isiolo is among counties grappling with high malnutrition rates, but there is a need to consider other wards such as Bulapesa, Burat and Wabera during the full rollout,” he said.
Nawiri is a five-year research and development programme being implemented in Isiolo and Marsabit counties and aims to increase awareness on malnutrition so as to sustainably reduce persistent acute malnutrition and strengthen institutions involved in bringing the change.
The project is being implemented by a consortium led by Catholic Relief Services. Others are Village Enterprise, Concern Worldwide, Tufts University, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (Gain), Manoff Group, and International Business and Technical Consultants Inc.