Roda Lokaale, 32, Turkana. Photo Credit: Joy Obuya

Changing the game in humanitarian response

"I am an orphan.”

“My father was poisoned by his third wife and died.”

 “My mother walked to the forest in search of water and pasture and never came back. “

“My husband married another woman.  He threw us out.”

“We used to live in the remote Songot village, life got so difficult we resulted to eating wild fruit-‘adapal.’ For two months, we had no water, and no food.”

“I am a mother of five, my first born child is fifteen years old, and my last born is two. We eventually moved to a village nearer the town center. My kids finally joined a school nearby. I am hopeful they will have a better life than mine. “Roda is shy, she keeps her head bowed half of the time we are having our conversation and speaks in halting whispers, she only looks up and nods in the affirmative when I ask her if she received some money via  the  HSNP (Hunger Safety Net Programme) E- Wallet mechanism.

“I am grateful for the money, I received the KES 1600 and the KES 900 E-wallet, just last week I bought 15 jerrys for KES 75 which will last my family 2-weeks. Oxfam should not stop helping us, we need it.”

I ask Roda to tell me how life would have been, without the assistance she received from Oxfam. She gasps, puts her hands over her head as if in disbelief that she is still alive.  “Ningekuwa Maiti, watoto wangu wangekuwa kama mimi…” she pauses.  “Bila Mama au Baba” { I would have been dead, my children would have become orphans just like me.}

We are standing directly opposite one of the watering points in Kakuma; there are several jerry cans on the queue. The respective owners are standing on the side watching over them, not bothered by the scorching sun. They come closer only when it is their turn to fetch water.  Looking at them, there is a mixed expression of anxiety and relief - you can tell, this is a game changer.

About the Programme

Oxfam through financial support from European Union humanitarian aid is reaching 1000 households (6000 people) through unconditional cash transfer of KES 1600 cash giving families the flexibility to address their immediate needs and conditional cash of KES 900 which they specifically use to access clean reliable water when they want it from the water services departments and vendors using the HSNP E-wallet  

The E-wallet 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.