Some 25 East African journalists have climbed Mt Kenya to raise funds for famine relief in Kenya, writes Dennis Itumbi.


The Nation Media group sent the journalists – drawn from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda – to climb the 16 000m mountain. Viewers and corporates were asked to sponsor them for every meter climbed.

The Nation has already contributed Shs. 4.2m ($52500) to the venture. The whole campaign has raised double the initial target of Shs.10m ($125000).

The Kenyan government has already declared the famine a national disaster and appealed for funds.  The famine has been caused by drought and crop failure linked to last year’s post-election violence.

Other media have launched their own campaigns. Radio Africa, which owns Kiss 100, Classic FM, East Fm, Smooth Fm, Jambo and The Nairobi Star, hired and parked lorries outside leading supermarkets in the capital Nairobi and asked Kenyans to fill the lorries with foodstuffs. This initiative, dubbed "feed the hungry in 24 hours", raised over 10,000 tonnes of food that were handed over to the Kenyan chapter of the Red Cross for distribution.

The Standard Group asked all its offices countrywide to open a hunger desk and the proceeds were driven to Turkana District in the Rift Valley and Mbeere in Eastern Kenya, both hard hit by the disaster.

Baraka FM, the leading radio station in the coast, managed a two-week campaign dubbed, "Okoa Maisha" that saw sitting legislators from the area donating a quarter of their salaries and well-to-do residents give up lunch and donate them to the starving.

The Journalists Association of Kenya (JAK) has announced that the entire collections from their membership for the month of February would be donated to the hunger Kitty.

Jacqueline Ooko, the President of the association, said, "Our role is not merely to talk about what is happening but to be responsible enough to intervene in our own small ways."