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Coca Cola opens happiness to starving Kenyans

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 12- Soft drink giant Coca Cola has announced a Sh134 million donation towards the drought and famine situation in the Horn of Africa.

Of the amount, Sh100 million will go towards the Kenyans4Kenya initiative, making it the single largest donation towards the efforts to assist those most suffering from starvation.  Sh20 million will go towards relief efforts in Ethiopia, while the remaining Sh14 million will go to the Somali Red Crescent.

Making the announcement, Coca Cola Central, East and West Africa President Nathan Kalumbu said the interventions for the Horn of Africa were a testament to the fact that no single organisation or government could attain alone, and required the support and participation of both public and private sector.

“It is through this dynamic collaboration that the millions of those affected by the food crisis in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia can hope for a better tomorrow,” Mr Kalumbu said.

Safaricom and Kenya Commercial Bank in conjunction with the Media Owners Association (MOA) launched the campaign two weeks ago, aimed at raising Sh500 million to feed 3.5 million Kenyans facing starvation.

However, given the overwhelming support shown by the Kenyan public, the organisers have adjusted the target to Sh1 billion, which they expect to reach in the next two weeks.

Mr Kalumbu said that as part of the global Coca Cola strategy, the company had a responsibility to engage with consumers and communities.

“We recognise that to have a sustainable business, the communities we serve must be sustainable. Our business is only as strong as the communities in which we operate,” he said.

The money will be channelled towards supplying water, medicines and fortified foods to the affected areas.

The Kenyans for Kenya initiative seeks to bring the Kenyan public together to address a mix of short, medium and long-term intervention measures to ease the famine that has over time affected Northern Kenya.

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Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet said other than the relief assistance being offered, more still needs to be done to ensure that long-term solutions are put in place to avoid a recurrence of the situation.

“Kenyans should not find themselves in the situation they are already. It is our collective responsibility as a nation to ensure that no Kenyan ever dies of hunger or hunger related illness,” Mr Gullet said.

He also said that Kenya Red Cross had already flagged off 150 metric tonnes of UniMix flour last weekend to go to the most affected regions in northern Kenya. However, the same time he confirmed that they would be flagging off another 150 metric tonnes of UniMix flour this weekend to go to other parts of the country that are affected by famine.

Currently, the Kenyans4Kenya Initiative has raised over Sh550 million since its inception early this month and is expected to hit the Sh1 billion mark by the end of the campaigns.


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