Food aid by mobile phone: Concern’s new venture in Kenya

Food aid by mobile phone: Concern’s new venture in Kenya

Thousands of villagers in remote Kenya are anxiously awaiting text messages, writes Rob Crilly, in the Rift Valley.

The Delivery of emergency aid to the hungry people of Kerio Valley in one of Kenya’s more remote regions was signalled not by the rumbling of heavy trucks or the sight of cargo planes in the sky.

It came in the form of a beep delivered to dozens of mobile phones, sending hundreds of women who had waited all day into a frenzy of excitement.

“I have got it, I have got it!” screamed one woman as she raced around holding her phone aloft. They had not been waiting for food or plastic sheeting or blankets- but a code to be sent to their phones which they can use to collect cash.

The technique has been pioneered by the Irish aid agency Concern, which sees it as a faster and more efficient way of getting help to people in need.

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