By Caroline Katana
Over four thousand residents from six villages in Lunga Lunga and Kinango constituencies in Kwale County have received relief food distributed by the Free Pentecostal Fellowship of Kenya (FPFK).
The food donation program that benefited three villages from each constituency was funded by FPFK’s development partner children’s Mission Sweden.
This is due to the prolonged drought experienced in the areas.
Speaking to journalists after a food distribution exercise at Gambani, Bang’a and Kasageni villages in the Kinango constituency, FACADA project coordinator Emmanuel Kahaso said a total of 72 bags of maize and 35 bags of beans will be shared equally among the beneficiaries.
“We made a proposal of relief food to our partners and friends after learning that families from the six villages were in dire need of food, so we managed to get the maize and beans whereby every family will get eight kilograms of maize and four kilograms of beans. I understand it may not be enough but I’m grateful for the efforts made by the church for assisting the families, “Said Kahaso.
Kahaso called upon agricultural organizations to come out and sensitize locals on agri-business to enhance food security.
“It is high time for agricultural stakeholders to do agri-business sensitization, locals should not rely on rain seasons due to climate change. If big dams and wells will be dug for irrigation purposes it may be an amicable solution to food insecurity” emphasized Kahaso.
On his side, Coast region FPFK deputy bishop Wilfred Kefa said the mission of the church is reaching people on spiritual and social matters.
“As we preach to people to come to church it may not be that pleasing seeing them with empty stomachs, that is why we came up with this program of distributing relief food to the families that are highly affected by drought” noted Kefa.
Bishop Kefa said that plans by FPFK church to sensitize the community on how to embrace modern agricultural methods that are drought resistant are underway.
“Today we are distributing relief food but we have plans to educate locals on proper methods of farming in arid and semi-arid areas. We already have farmers groups doing active farming in Msambweni and Matuga constituency and we are also registering more farmers to learn the best methods of farming” he added.
Bishop Kefa said there is a need for the national and county government to put more effort into farming and giving more relief food to the affected families.
Pricilla Yohana, a beneficiary of the relief food, affirmed that drought has highly affected elderly people, children below five years, school-going children and expectant mothers.
“As I speak some children are not in school, expectant mothers often lose their pregnancies and children below five years suffer malnutrition because of hard-hit hunger” she said.
Pricilla applauded the efforts by FPFK church for supporting the affected families in the area.
“I’m very grateful for receiving this relief food from FPFK church, today our families will have food on the table. Locals are not able to afford good meals due to the hard economy being experienced in the country” she added.
Her sentiments were echoed by Jira Chilute Ngao, a father of thirteen children who depends on the charcoal business for survival.
“I appreciate the church for giving us relief food, the economy is very hard, I’m bringing up 13 children and I’m jobless. I have been selling charcoal to cater for the needs of my family but unfortunately, the government banned cutting down trees so life is so hard for me. Already some of my children have dropped out of school” said Ngao.
Agnes Uchi Bendera, a local from Kasageni village confirmed drought to be a menace that forces them to walk for over ten kilometres searching for water.
Locals from Fimbamoyo, Chidi and Mnarani villages in LLunga Lungaconstituency are among the beneficiaries.