NAIROBI, Kenya, November 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
SOS Children's Villages Kenya has selected sQuid's smartcard payments service to help villagers affected by drought and famine, obtain food directly from local shops.
The pilot programme has been launched in the northern Kenyan town of Marsabit, and is being operated by sQuid and its local partner Paystream, a specialist in merchant payment terminal installation and management.
The SOS Children's Villages Kenya scheme has been described as a breakthrough in efficient aid fund distribution and management. It is the result of collaboration with SOS Kenya, community elders, Government authorities and shop owners. 2,000 families are involved in this programme, where beneficiaries receive a unique sQuid smartcard which contains an electronic purse. SOS Kenya, based in Nairobi instruct payment to be made to each cardholder in Marsabit, and the sQuid system delivers the electronic value to each card, which can then be used in the local store - collecting the unique top-up and allowing the cardholder to make contactless purchases of food directly at the participating merchant.
Adam Smith, CEO of sQuid, said: "Up to now, delivering financial aid to the individual has been fraught with problems of security with sums going astray before they get to the person that really needs the help. Our contactless card is easy to use, and strikes the right balance of simplicity and security. We make sure that electronic value is delivered to the cardholder, and the merchants that participate in the programme receive settlement directly from the aid organisation. sQuid's platform allows all this to happen with complete transparency and at a low cost to the aid organisation too. We hope to be able to extend the reach of the programme across the region, and to work with other Government agencies and NGOs alike."
Anthony Githui from SOS Children's Villages Kenya said: "This new aid distribution scheme has been a real breakthrough for the organization as we can now ensure that funds reach the right people when they need it and where then need it. We are sure the trial will be a success as we would like to roll this out further afield."
Throughout East Africa, SOS Kenya continues to respond to drought and famine by providing health services, food and water to the hungry in villages and internally displaced persons (IDP) camps throughout Somalia, and to refugees in Kenya and Ethiopia. In Marsabit, Kenya, where the sQuid smart card program as a new method of distributing aid is being piloted, SOS Kenya has educated the local community about how the system works, the value that each card holds, and the kind of food eligible to purchase from participating stores.
Deployment is managed with Paystream, the terminal and payments specialist based in Nairobi. Sam Ndegwa, CEO of Paystream added that "Paystream has been the catalyst of bringing this trial together. We wanted to find a safe, reliable card based solution to help get the food aid to the right people, and we have met all expectations with the success of the trial so far."