About the project
As a result of failed rains and persistent drought, Kacheliba in West Pokot was one of the areas that was worst hit by drought and food insecurity
A Safaricom staff led initiative supported by the Safaricom Foundation, led to a reprieve for the hunger -stricken residents of Kacheliba. By skipping meals, Safaricom staff helped provide food for hundreds of people facing hunger. It all started with Linda Arimi, a Quality Analyst at Safaricom’s Jambo Contact Centre, who conceived the idea of skipping meals, and later managed to convince her colleagues at work, and eventually all the divisions in Safaricom to skip a meal and donate the money meant for that meal to the hungry.
With a minimum target of KShs 800,000 to initiate the project, Linda and her colleagues developed proposals and sold the idea to all company divisions. The immediate positive response from staff members enhanced their enthusiasm.
With artwork by Peter Omamo, statistics assistance from the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) and a healthy sense of competition, the initiative dubbed “Skip-A-Meal” sprang to life at an incredible speed. Friday was designated as the official “Skip-a-Meal” contribution day, and all staff were requested to either skip a meal and/ or contribute the cost of the meal – whichever was higher, towards the Skip-A-Meal fund.
KRCS also provided support in terms of identifying the neediest households and coordinated the distribution logistics on the ground, using their branch networks and officials.
An impressive KShs 497,936.35 was raised from Safaricom staff in the eight weeks of the Skip-A-Meal campaign. The Safaricom Foundation matched these funds shilling-for-shilling, making a total of KShs. 995,872. The Foundation also covered the travel costs for a team of 25 staff, who traveled to Kacheliba for the food distribution exercise. Over 1,000 families were each provided with a standard food package comprising maize, beans, flour, cooking oil and sugar to sustain them for a month.
Although Skip-a-Meal provided food rations for a month for each of the families, the organizers of the initiative acknowledge that longer term measures need to be found in order to address the cyclical drought and famine in the country. Safaricom staff are constantly looking to be part of the pursuit of measures that could alleviate the suffering of Kenyans.