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Dealing with Urban Hunger

By Treezer Michelle Atieno

Nairobi County grapples with persistent challenges of urban hunger. According to United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization FAO, rapid urbanization, population growth, and economic disparities have greatly contributed to food insecurity, affecting vulnerable communities. Limited access to employment opportunities and high living costs exacerbate the situation, particularly for low-income households. Despite being an economic hub, pockets of poverty persist, leading to inadequate nutrition and heightened vulnerability.

Nairobi County Governor Johnson Sakaja has taken a bold step in tackling the prevalent issue of urban hunger in the city with the initiation of a comprehensive relief program. Launched officially on December 20th, 2023, the program involves the distribution of essential food and non-food items, aiming to alleviate the immediate needs of the residents of Nairobi who have been grappling with the challenges of urban hunger.

During the flag-off ceremony, held at the Gigiri Fire Station, governor Sakaja underscored the crucial role played by the existing school feeding program, which currently benefits 150,000 pupils in primary schools. Furthermore, he revealed plans to expand this initiative to encompass 190,000 pupils by January 2024, reflecting a commitment to addressing hunger at its roots.

Governor Sakaja expressed the distribution of food items as a gift from his administration to the resilient residents of Nairobi, showcasing a commitment to addressing the immediate hunger needs of the people of Nairobi.

The distribution plan outlined by Governor Sakaja encompasses all 85 wards in the city, directly impacting 14,000 households. This strategic approach ensures a wide-reaching impact on the diverse communities within Nairobi. The plan also incorporates non-food assistance, strategically responding to specific incidents such as the Gikomba fire and targeting areas like Mukuru kwa Reuben, Imara Daima, and Korokocho. Additionally, vulnerable populations, including the elderly residing in Mji Wa Huruma, are prioritized to receive essential items.

Bramwel Simiyu, the Chief Officer for Disaster Management, emphasized the initiative’s broader implications for community well-being and resilience. Commending Governor Sakaja’s commitment, Simiyu highlighted the structured approach adopted by the administration in formally recognizing urban hunger as a disaster. This formal recognition enables the disaster management sector to deploy effective strategies to tackle the multifaceted challenges associated with urban hunger.

Nairobi City County is entrusted with the responsibility of providing a variety of services to residents within its jurisdiction. These services encompass those formerly provided by the defunct City Council and those transferred from the national government, highlighting the county’s pivotal role in ensuring the well-being of its residents.

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