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Thursday, September 3, 2015

FAO, MasterCard partnership kick starts with Turkana 170,000 refugees

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) partnership with MasterCard, the technology company in the global payments industry, will take off by caring for Kakuma refugee camp, Turkana County, Kenya, NaijaAgroNet reports.

The camp is currently housing 170,000 refugees who have fled wars and violence in neighboring countries.

According to the agreement, camp residents will be provided with prepaid cards that will permit them to buy charcoal produced locally by the host community – charcoal that has been certified as being produced in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly way. The scheme, NaijaAgroNet gathered, is designed to improve incomes of Turkana residents, reduce social tensions between those residents and the refugees, and relieve pressure on the environment.

MasterCard will provide its technology expertise and a meaningful financial contribution, to kick-start the business chain by providing 1,240 host-community households with improved charcoal making kilns and 7,000 refugee households with energy efficient stoves and credit to purchase 25 per cent of their annual charcoal needs.

The FAO and MasterCard are joining forces to create this innovative alliance against hunger.  The new partnership agreement which was signed recently by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and Walt Macnee, Vice Chairman of MasterCard, at FAO headquarters, NaijaAgroNet reports, will  pave the way for a collaborative effort that will develop inclusive payment systems to support small-scale farmers and poor families.

Among other activities, the collaboration will explore ways to provide credit or money to households for purchases of basic needs and farming inputs on local markets, thereby supporting local economies and putting financial tools in the hands of economically marginalized communities.

The effort will benefit from the complementary strengths of each organization: MasterCard’s expertise in payments technology and FAO's global reach and track record in combating hunger and malnutrition, NaijaAgroNet learnt.

FAO's three main goals, NaijaAgroNet discovers, include the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition; the elimination of poverty and the driving forward of economic and social progress for all; and, the sustainable management and utilization of natural resources, including land, water, air, climate and genetic resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

Cyriacus Nnaji/GEE

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