, KITUI, Kenya, Mar 29 – More than 200 Barclays Bank of Kenya Ltd employees, led by the Consumer Banking Director Abdi Mohamed, presented a Sh2.2million donation at the weekend to help Kenyans affected by the current food shortage.
The donation was presented to area officials and the Kenya Red Cross in Kitui.
"Our involvement is underpinned by our commitment to support communities where we do business as part of our community investment programme. Social inclusion is a critical pillar of this policy which also focuses on education, health and supporting the physically challenged," Mr Mohammed said.
The Minister for Water and Irrigation Charity Ngilu, who flagged off the donations distribution, commended Barclays Kenya for their goodwill gesture and added that the Government was working on long term strategies to combat famine by ensuring water was available in areas such as Eastern Province where famine is rampant.
The Consumer Banking Director added that Barclays Kenya fosters volunteerism by encouraging colleagues to participate in various community activities. However, the current national food crisis has moved the hearts of many, causing colleagues to mobilise to support those in need.
"In the past two months, 430 colleagues across Barclays devised various ways of raising funds by – among other things – selling food items, handkerchiefs, raffle tickets, old newspapers, and roses on Valentine Day. They also shined shoes and held a quiz night,” said Mr Mohamed as he commended his colleagues for their outstanding role and creative dedication.
"Special mention goes to the Barclays Kitui branch team, who live and work among the hardest hit by the famine. Working closely with the Kitui Central Development Association, the Provincial Administration, and Kenya Red Cross Society officials, they were in the forefront of mobilising resources,” he said.
Mr Mohamed explained that colleagues realised Sh1.1 million, which Barclays matched to make it Sh2.2 million under the "Barclays Shilling for Shilling" initiative.
In addition to raising funds, employees responded to calls to volunteer at regional Red Cross stations.
He added that the Kitui donation bolstered the Barclays Kenya investment of Sh11.5 million, which was presented to the Kenya Red Cross Society on 23 February 2009.
With the Sh11.5 million Barclays investment, the Kenya Red Cross is purchasing 500 metric tons of CSB/Unimix and 2,000 metric tons of maize grain for distribution to children at affected schools and health facilities in the affected areas of Kitui, Makueni, Mwingi and Machakos.
In the last five years, Barclays has invested Sh105 million in various school projects across the country as part of the Barclays "Banking on Brighter Futures" programme.
Key achievements include the construction of 185 classrooms, 12 science laboratories, 10 computer labs, four libraries, 115 toilets, 100 water tanks, and six dormitories.
Besides education, Barclays has been active in addressing disability as well as public health issues with special attention to HIV/Aids and Malaria. This ensures that Barclays remains sensitive to the social needs of the communities where colleagues and customers live.
In 2007 and 2008, Barclays invested Sh93.3 million to support such community-based development projects across the country. This is in addition to Sh107 million that was invested in a UNICEF programme to rehabilitate street children in Kenya.