Catherine Abulon, 34, Ngarakois, Lokichogio, Turkana. Photo credit: Joy Obuya

Catherine counting money received from the EU humanitarian aid emergency response envelope

Behind Catherine's smile

If you live in the City, two weeks after you deliver, you are still receiving gifts and visitors. Meet Catherine, the self-proclaimed ‘born tao’ - Born and raised in a town- by her own standard.  She gave birth a little over a week ago, but until she says it, her assertive voice and infectious laughter would totally mislead you.

When we walk into her homestead, her friend is helping her put on the third layer of the ‘Ngarkhomwa’ – commonly referred to as the Shanga, a traditional neckpiece adorned by Turkana Women. When she is done, the Shanga is covering half her face.

Her husband left her for a younger girl after he had left his first wife for her. “He left his other wife for me” she jokes. “That is why I left Kakuma town, came back to the village. Now, I go to the shopping Centre daily in search of odd jobs, just to make ends meet.”  She adjusts her Shanga once again, “I am hoping to get a suitor soon”, she believes the ‘Ngarakhomwa’ will definitely attract wealthy suitors.

“Imagine walking for long distances in search of water and pasture only for bandits to find you and attack you. That is ordinary for us. But, we cope”.

She turns tables and asks me if we have deposited money into her HSNP Equity account, we head out to the nearest agent at the shopping Centre so she can access her money to buy water.

Catherine initially received KES 1600 (Euros 15) in March 2017, which is unconditional cash given to beneficiary households to address their immediate household needs. Catherine used part of the money to offset medical bills during delivery, buy lesos (shawls) to cover her newborn and part of it to buy food essentials. She hopes to save up money in future and start a small business for sustainability purposes.

Additionally, she also recently received her KES 900 (Euros 8) conditional cash given to a total of 1000 households in Kakuma and Lokichogio, Turkana County to help them cope with the effects of the ongoing drought via the HSNP e-wallet function. With the e-wallet card, Catherine will have access to clean and safe water for her family.

About the E-Wallet Mechanism

The E-wallet has a simple design: the beneficiary carries their HSNP card to an Equity Bank Agent. The agent has a machine configured to show the beneficiary information on the E-wallet. The beneficiary tells the agent to debit the amount that he/she wants to buy the water for on that particular day. The agent then issues a receipt for the amount of water required; each 20 litre jerry can cost KES 5 (0.05 euro). The receipt holder then gives the receipt to the water kiosk vendor and then draws water equivalent to the amount of water redeemed.

The e –wallet mechanism allows for flexibility, better planning, dignity and choice to the beneficiaries to address their most immediate needs and access clean reliable water when they need it.