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Cooperatives in Kenya Launch Initiative Targeting 500,000 Vulnerable Households

This post is provided by Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives Ltd. (KUSCCO), World Council's direct member organization in Kenya.

The co-operative movement in Kenya launched an initiative to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic through the provision of relief to vulnerable families whose income has been disrupted, and to support the reconstruction of the sector.

Through the distribution of relief supplies, the ambitious initiative seeks to serve as a cushion to 500,000 vulnerable households in the country, while boosting government efforts against the Coronavirus pandemic. Dubbed ‘Co-ops Care’, the initiative is spearheaded by the newly established Co-operative Coronavirus Response Committee (CCRC), whose mandate includes the mobilization of resources from the co-operative sector.

The committee has raised over US$ 112,602. More than 68 co-operative societies and 26 individual co-operators have made contributions. Employees from the Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives (KUSCCO) made a consolidated contribution of US$ 575. The initial relief effort targeting 5,000 households has been processed and each household has been given a shopping voucher from a local supermarket to redeem a ‘COVID-19 Co-op Kit.’ That kit is comprised of five kilograms of maize flour, a liter of cooking oil, two kilograms of beans, bar soap and four face masks.

In a letter addressed to all co-operatives, Geoffrey Njang'ombe, Commissioner for Co-operative Development, noted that the pandemic called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to alleviate its effect on vulnerable co-operators.  

“The National Government has made an appeal for local fundraising to address this pandemic. There is a need for the sector to organize itself in support of and to compliment the government’s efforts to assist vulnerable communities affected by this pandemic, Njang’ombe told co-operatives. 

Among its other roles, the committee will coordinate support to the beneficiaries in collaboration with the National Emergency Response Committee, and disseminate information and training to co-operative members as informed by the Ministry of Health.

In addition, the committee will develop post COVID-19 pandemic-coping mechanisms through structured lobbying and advocacy to the Government, and commission research on the impact of the pandemic on the co-operative sector. CCRC will develop a monitoring and evaluation plan to collect, collate, measure and generate reports for strategic appraisal of the assignment.