Kenya: TSF sets up Cash Transfer activities in the pastoral regions of the Marsabit South district.
On 15th October 2012, Télécoms Sans Frontières, in collaboration with Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Germany, launched the RAPID M-PESA pilot project, financed by GIZ, whose objective is to improve food security of vulnerable households in pastoral areas of Kenya, and reduce the effects of famine on their living conditions.
The aim of VSF-G is to conduct Cash for Work and Cash Transfer activities, and thanks to TSF’s expertise, to remune- rate the beneficiaries using the M-PESA system. Regular payments via the M-PESA system will enable the reduction of the beneficiaries’ vulnerability – villagers from the Marsabit South District (Marsabit County, northern Kenya) – to recurrent food crises in the country.
The aim of VSF-G is to conduct Cash for Work and Cash Transfer activities, and thanks to TSF’s expertise, to remunerate the beneficiaries using the M-PESA system. Regular payments via the M-PESA system will enable the reduction of the beneficiaries’ vulnerability – villagers from the Marsabit South District (Marsabit County, northern Kenya) – to recurrent food crises in the country.
TSF and VSF-G decided to conduct the pilot project in the Marsabit South District. It will be implemented in three towns: Laisamis, Merille and Logologo. From 4th to 21st January 2012, TSF went to each of the selected areas to train the beneficiaries who will be paid via M-PESA.
The beneficiaries are pastoralists. VSF-G chose them according to vulnerability criteria such as: household where the head is a single mother, household with a herd of less than 20 heads of cattle, household where the head takes care of orphans. In each village, a support committee helped VSF-G to select the beneficiaries, with at least one person with literacy and/or knowing how to use a mobile phone per village.
At the beginning of January, beneficiaries were separated into groups of 5 people and they attended training where each group received a cell phone and a solar charger provided by TSF. Moreover, each beneficiary who did not yet have a line received a personal SIM card and registered on M-PESA.
￼Most of the beneficiaries are not used to dealing with a cell phone, and for this reason, TSF trained 14 community assistants among the beneficiaries who are literate and already have some knowledge about cell phones. They will be able to help the other beneficiaries in case of problems with the cell phones or if needed, to read a message.
TSF also created a User guide detailing how to use a cell phone, and the creation and use of an M-PESA account, to assist them during and after the training.
Finally, if the inhabitants of big towns are familiar with M-PESA agents and systems, for villagers living in more isolated areas it is very often a discovery. The opening of an M-PESA account is compulsory for the beneficiaries of the project to receive the payments for Cash for Work activities. To assist them in the process of M-PESA registration, TSF recruited a local assistant with good knowledge of the M-PESA system.
To confirm the secure registration of each of the newly created M-PESA accounts, TSF will use the FrontlineSMS application before carrying out the first payment.