On Thursday, 17th September 2015, HSNP hosted media persons representing a cross section of media houses for a cocktail evening. The cocktail took place at the Head of DFID Kenya’s residence. The media houses that were represented at the cocktail included: BBC, NTV, KTN, The Standard newspaper, Nation Newspaper, K24, People’s Daily and Citizen TV. HSNP stakeholders represented included the Government of Kenya representatives from National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), DFID Kenya, Financial Sector Deepening (FSD), Equity Bank Ltd., HelpAge international and DAI UK.
The objective of the HSNP media cocktail was to develop long term working collaboration between the media and HSNP- a cash transfer flagship programme targeting the poorest Counties of Turkana, Marsabit, Mandera and Wajir. It was also an opportunity to thank the media for highlighting positive impact stories about the programme that were aired and printed in the previous months.
Both the Head of DFID Kenya (Lisa Phillips) and Director of Technical Services (Sunya Orre) emphasized the commitment of both the Kenyan and UK governments in supporting HSNP. They shared that HSNP receives overwhelming support because it has proven to work. In addition, HSNP has the direct endorsement of H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta as quoted in a speech he gave during the Mashujaa day of 2014. Moreover, impact studies and testimonials from the beneficiaries attest to the effectiveness of the programme in improving the livelihoods of the beneficiaries’ majority of who are pastoralists. HSNP has revolutionalised the cash economies of the four Counties through the injection of cash every two months. This has gradually strengthened the markets and developed where they were non-existent.
During the cocktail, journalists from the different media houses that had previously covered HSNP stories shared their experiences. The most common was how uplifted they felt witnessing how HSNP cash was restoring dignity and hope to the most poorest and vulnerable households. Testimonials from the HSNP beneficiaries interviewed emphasized the importance of the cash transfers intervention especially in fighting extreme hunger and poverty. The journalists urged HSNP to continue supporting the media in accessing such stories as accessing the four Counties is very challenging. Some of the challenges include: geographical location, language, conservative cultures, insecurity and high level of illiteracy that makes it difficult capturing stories.
Moving forward, HSNP and the media agreed there was a big need for working together. For the media being the voice of the society, it has the responsibility of speaking the truth, lobbying for the voiceless and ensuring that programme deliver their promises. On the other hand, the HSNP implementers were urged to continue listening to the communities they were serving to come up with solutions that were realistic to the needs of these communities.
The cocktail ended in a high note and with a strong conviction mutual benefits of future working collaborations.