The COVID-19 Fund received a timely boost on Wednesday after two large corporations committed Ksh350 million towards Coronavirus intervention giving the country a major boost in the fight against the global pandemic.
Kenya’s most profitable company Safaricom through its M-PESA and Safaricom Foundations pumped Ksh200 Million which the company said will be channeled towards providing food and nutrition to Kenyans in need.
Kenya’s largest bank by assets Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) committed Ksh150 million becoming the second lender after Co-operative Bank to contribute to the kitty.
The Hindu Council has also made a sizeable donation to the kitty.
Safaricom Chief Executive Peter Ndegwa assured Kenyans that Safaricom will fully throw its weight behind Kenyans throughout the pandemic period.
“Today we all face a common enemy. We can only win by supporting each other and standing with the less fortunate in our society. I urge us all to make a difference by contributing be it in cash or in-kind towards supporting those among us in need,” said Ndegwa.
M-PESA Foundation Chairperson Michael Joseph said: “Since our inception in 2010, the M-PESA Foundation has partnered with the government and other organizations on large-scale, long-term, and highly impactful social projects for the social and economic benefit of the people of Kenya. Today we are making our contribution, which we believe will go a long way towards ensuring that no child goes to sleep hungry during this unprecedented crisis,”
Mr. Ndegwa added that Safaricom had also made business decisions in the last three weeks since Kenyans were asked to stay at home that will enable our customers to access more products and services either for free or at a highly subsidized rate. These decisions according to Ndegwa will ensure Kenyans spend their money where they need it most.
Some of the decision that Ndegwa refers to include the zero-rated M-PESA person to person transactions below Ksh1,000 over the next three months to reduce the risk of handling cash.
Safaricom has also zero-rated paybill tills for government hospitals and dispensaries as well as doubled bandwidth offered on its fiber connections to home, giving customers an opportunity to work and learn from home and to get entertained.
The telecommunications company also says it has provided concessional rates for data access to specific educational content for various universities and other learning institutions.
Safaricom Foundation has also donated thermal cameras worth Ksh10 Million to the Ministry of Health installed in various entry points to our country
Safaricom has further supported the government in the establishment and operation of a 24-7 COVID-19 Information Centre, leveraging the capabilities of our Customer Contact Centre.
The company is also hosting over 300 doctors to support the frontline staff in educating, informing and managing the spread of COVID-19.
KCB Bank, on the other hand, has contributed KShs150 million towards emergency interventions to cushion vulnerable citizens affected by the pandemic.
The funds will be channeled through the Fund formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to support Kenyans during this crisis.
“We stand with the nation to help limit the spread of the virus and ease the related economic hardships faced by the communities in which we operate in,” KCB Group CEO and MD Joshua Oigara said.
“This pandemic is a new test of our collective strength and we must work together to address it. We are committed to play our part to support this initiative and complement the Government’s effort in empowering the most vulnerable in our midst,” said Mr. Oigara who is also a Board Member of the Fund Chaired by Jane Karuku.
The contribution is in addition to the other measures the Bank has taken to cushion the customer and other stakeholders against the raging impact of coronavirus.
These initiatives include a Ksh20 million donation to the Ministry of ICT in-kind— public advertisement— to fund the public health campaign.