Strathmore students launch platform to curb covid-19 food shortage
The spread of COVID-19 has caused major disruptions to our daily lives: the pandemic has caused a strain on the economy; businesses have been shut down, livelihoods lost and learning institutions have closed their doors. With 29% of the world’s population living in abject poverty, as reported by the World Poverty Clock, food shortages have become prevalent.
Three Faculty of Information Technology students, Samuel Geoffrey Omambia, George Kimutai Ruto and Rodney Bakari, developed the Lisha Mkenya website to contribute to the alleviation of the lack of basic necessities. “We created the platform to help curb food shortages by enabling one to not only donate money but also food, from the comfort of their homes,” says Sam. Through Lisha Mkenya, we work with volunteers whose mandate is to collect donations from individual households and subsequently make distributions to needy neighborhoods. “Some residents in Madaraka have already donated foodstuff via the platform to slum dwellers who have been coming to the estate in search of household jobs,” continues Sam.
The trio developed the platform, under the leadership of Dr. John Olukuru, the Head of Data Science and Analytics at @iLabAfrica, to enable donations reach their intended recipients after hearing of reports of misappropriation of donations.
Inspired by the former Strathmore University Business School (SBS) Chaplain, Fr. Conor Donnelly, who has partnered with the Eastland College of Technology staff member, Moses Muthama, to support families in slums during these harsh times, Lisha Mkenya looks forward to supporting more families in Nairobi. Fr. Conor has not only donated food to these families but also taught them to start and run small businesses like making cheap soap detergents to earn a living. With his cofounders, Sam hopes that post-coronavirus the Strathmore University community will be engaged in more of Fr. Conor’s initiatives.
Besides its vision of providing avenues where Kenyans can support fellow Kenyans to secure basic needs, Lisha Mkenya yearns to empower people with basic business and entrepreneurial skills. “We will engage students from the University to dedicate their time to volunteer to teach a skill online and later at county community centers. We hope to partner with the government and other development partners to help us achieve the dream of supporting ‘Mama Fua’ to get a better laundry platform, to help that new graduate in the rural area to realize their potential in starting agricultural activities in the village, and eventually help that slum family identify a new business initiative to earn a living,” says George.
“I’d like to appreciate the overwhelming support from the Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Odhiambo, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Planning and Development, Dr. Edward Mungai and Anthony Kahindi, the University Secretary for spearheading the implementation of this project,” says Sam.
The article was compiled by Odhiambo Obonyo and Samuel Geoffrey Omambia.
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