“Cash transfers saved my life," says Akale
By Caroline Kwamboka
Akale is a mother of one child living in Turkana County, Northern Kenya. She has suffered large livestock losses because of the drought. She originally had 30 goats but Cost all her animals to the drought. Akale and her family are struggling to get food, and the only hope they have is from Save the Children’s cash transfer programme where they have been receiving Ksh 4,000 per month since June 2017.
Akale would like to see her child Erot grow up healthy but she says back of food and milk made Erot sick and he was often weak. Akale says she used the cash received to buy three goats for breeding and for milk. She also used part of the money to buy food for her family and for selling within her village, thus making profits to support her family and community.
She is thankfull for Save the Children’s cash transfer programme funded by Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), and says her family would be at risk of dying if they had not received support.
In their own words:
“My name is Akale* I live in Sasame village with my husband and child. Before the drought, I had 30 goats. We relied on the goats for food, milk and we also sold them to get money to buy other items in the house. The goats died. We stayed without food, even my child had to skip meals. He became sick, always had fever and was weak."
“We lost hope and we could only feed on the dead animals. All my relatives have been affected so there was nowhere to go. We prayed that we could get help before one of us dies."
“Save the Children has really helped me and my family. With the cash I received, I bought three goats for breeding and food for my family. We have enough food and my family now enjoys at least two meals per day."
“My son also benefited from the medical services. He was treated and given supplimentary food. He has stopped being sick and looks so much better than before."
Epem, Akale’s husband says: “We were lucky to receive three cycles of the cash, so we got a total of twelve thousand shillings. The first cycle we bought two medium sized goats for two thousand shillings and the rest of the money we bought food for the family. The second cycle we bought a sack of maize and later sold the maize and bought an extra goat. We used the rest of the money to buy food. I hope it rains in the next few months so that our goats survive."
“If it was not for Save the Children, children would have been the most affected followed by women. The best we could do was to beg around for food or borrow money to survive," says Epem.
Akale adds: “We are requesting Save the Children to assist us and our children until the end of the year since, we are not sure of the next rains. If the cash transfers can continues for the next few months it would help me and my husband to start a business that can help meet all our family needs."
Kenya is experiencing its worst drought in recent history, leaving more than 5.6 million people in need of assistance. Turkana County, in northern Kenya, is one of the areas that have been severely affected. The people have lost almost all their animals and the March —May rains which were expected to bring some relief have been very poor and in some places not rained at all.
As a result of the death of livestock, on which people depended for meat, milk and income, more than 60,000 children are now malnourished. The Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) for Turkana County is at 31.0% and the Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) rate is at 8.7%.
Through cash transfers, Save the Children is supporting people who've lost their incomes, enabling them to buy essentials for their children. Since April, 2017, we have reached 3,700 households, approximately 22,200 people within 3 sub-counties in Turkana County.
Save the Children is also working with the Ministry of Health to set up outreach sites in communities that are at least 10km from existing functional health facilities in order to reach remote communities who are desperately in need of assistance.