Announcements

Safaricom Pledges KES 50M for Victims of Protests, Launches #GenZforGenZ Initiative

Those admitted in hospitals were hurt by police with many local and international bodies citing excessive, unwarranted force

Safaricom has unveiled a comprehensive plan to assist Kenyans affected by the recent protests in the country, committing over KES 50 million towards medical care and hospital infrastructure improvements. The announcement came during a special event at Kenyatta National Hospital, where Safaricom and the M-PESA Foundation made a significant donation.

Prior to this announcement, Kenyans of goodwill had independently contributed over KES 29 Million via M-Changa to pay for medical bills and legal aid for protesters who were hurt, killed or arrested by police. This fund has been instrumental in aiding victims of police brutality get medical care including surgery across different parts of the country.

Donation to KNH:

Safaricom says it has allocated KES 15 million to Kenyatta National Hospital. Of this, KES 10 million will enhance the hospital’s Disaster Response Centre and KES 5 million is earmarked to assist those injured and currently admitted. This aid includes provision of assistive devices, smartphones, airtime, three months’ worth of food, and a year’s rent for those severely affected. Additionally, Safaricom says it has set aside KES 12.5 million for similar initiatives across the country.

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Dr. Evanson Kamuri, CEO of Kenyatta Hospital, acknowledged the partnership with Safaricom, emphasising its positive impact on Kenyans needing medical assistance during these troubled times. As per public information however, there have been claims by the Cabinet Secretary of Health that all victims (are being)/have been treated free of charge. This is despite the independent initiatives across the country where Kenyans of goodwill have been paying for treatment of those hurt or shot at by police. So, exactly what KNH will do with the KES 5 million is not clear.

Peter Ndegwa, CEO of Safaricom, expressed the company’s commitment to the community, particularly in challenging times. “Our Foundations are there to stand with the people, especially in times of need. We are happy to provide hospitals with structured support in times of emergencies, both for infrastructure improvement and patient recovery,” he stated.

Githurai and Rongai Medical Camps:

To extend its reach, Safaricom, through its M-Pesa Foundation, is also planning medical camps starting in Githurai on July 6, 2024, with a subsequent camp in Rongai. These areas have seen significant unrest, with reports of excessive force by police against peaceful protesters, many of whom were beaten, shot at and hurt during the demonstrations.

#GenZforGenZ Initiative:

Looking ahead, the company’s #GenZforGenZ initiative will mobilise Gen Z employees and other corporate partners to lead community outreaches, clean-ups, and further medical camps. Safaricom says its long-term strategy includes a focus on empowering youth through TVET scholarships, economic opportunities in agribusiness, business training, micro-loans across 13 counties, and mental health support through strategic partnerships.

This initiative follows recent calls to boycott Safaricom due to alleged complicity in an internet shutdown amid widespread protests, a situation exacerbated by a claimed fibre cut which international observers like NetBlocks have disputed, suggesting possible tampering at the Kenya Internet Exchange Point. This announcement may also be a direct result of a recent town hall meeting Safaricom held with its employees, addressing their concerns and feedback.

Safaricom’s CEO Peter Ndegwa reiterated the company’s stance on privacy and trust. “Safaricom remains committed to uplifting our communities and ensuring the well-being of all Kenyans, especially the youth who are our future,” he concluded, underscoring a vision of restoration and resilience in face of adversity.

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