YOUR BROWSER DOES NOT SUPPORT CSS GRID. This site makes use of modern CSS grid layout and may not display as intended.

Story

For 36-year-old Veronica Musyoka, a dependent of World Vision’s relief food programme in Iviganza village, Makueni district, the trip to the food distribution point was long, and tiring-she had to make a 30km trek, the terrain and the blazing heat draining her even further.

Then there was the long hours wait at the distribution centre, all this on an empty groaning stomach. This is because a lot of paper work had to be done prior to the food distribution process-like, confirming details on the beneficiaries’ register, on the identification card, signing, thumb printing etcetera.

It was a long and tedious process, but I had to persevere until the very end since that is the only food source I have. By the time I returned home, I was worn out from long trekking. I would be too weak to do other chores and most importantly prepare a meal for myself and my daughter

Veronica, the sole breadwinner, explains

“I left my home at eight in the morning only to return at two. I would find my hungry daughter waiting for me outside. It worried me very much,” she adds. “I never got any work done on the day of food distribution,” Mbula Mutua, another beneficiary, says.

But this long suffering is all in the past now. A new automated system has been introduced to the Iviganza Food Distribution Point (FDP) to replace the manual system of registration and all the processes involved.

How the Automated System Works

Beneficiaries are issued with cards that bear all their details like name, identification number, country and their photo in a passport size. The cards are prepared and issued by World Vision to the beneficiaries for free and can be replaced – for free – upon loss.

The cards have a bar code, and it is at this stage that World Vision food monitors then scan the cards using a radio like device called the Last Mile Mobile Solutions (LMMS) that is connected to the internet.

When scanned, the details such as the name, age, number of people in the beneficiary’s household and the amount of food to be received is revealed on the screen. Once the details are confirmed, the beneficiaries usually grouped into 10 households distribute out the food rations after which they return home.

As the food is distributed out, the server-also connected to the internet – tracks the food movement using a commodity tracking feature. The systems operator is able to see the number of households in that food distribution point and the current stock reflected on the roaming server, by the end of the distribution, there will be a change in the opening and closing food stock balance.

Beneficiaries are really marveled by this technology. “I am very happy about the new automated system because it is fast and within a matter of minutes one is already done,” Veronica says.

The manual system used to make us wait for over three hours and it was very tedious, because of the many processed involved. I have three little grandchildren that I have to leave behind when I go to get my food rations, this usually makes me very worried, especially when I am away from home for a very long period of time. Now with the automated system, the process is fast, and I get to go back home early and be with my grandchildren.

Sixty-three-year-old Mukai Mwanthi also shares Veronica’s excitement

Philip says the beneficiaries seemed to have warmly embraced the technology. “The system is fast, after scanning the details which takes less than ten seconds per person the beneficiaries already grouped into groups of ten households then equally share the food rations and in ten minutes time, they are on the way home,” Philip says.

“Makueni is the first project to implement the system and according Philip a lot of time is saved. The paper work has been reduced; it is now less tedious for the beneficiaries. Everything is done speedily simply with a touch of a button,” Philip explains.

“The beneficiaries too, feel really dignified and appreciated,” adds Philip. Imagine a pregnant mother or an elderly standing under that sweltering heat for over three hours. These two groups of people are very fragile and vulnerable,” Philip says.

“The LMMS system will also reduce incidents such as on transit commodity thefts for it is able to track the inventory of commodities at the FDP by recording inflows and outflows such as shipments from the warehouse to the FDP, return shipments and even damages and losses,” Philip further explains.

The beneficiaries too, feel really dignified and appreciated. Imagine a pregnant mother or an elderly standing under that sweltering heat for over three hours. These two groups of
people are very fragile and vulnerable. The LMMS system will also reduce incidents such as on transit commodity thefts for it is able to track the inventory of commodities at the FDP by recording inflows and outflows such as shipments from the warehouse to the FDP, return shipments and even damages and losses.

Philip Mbovu, a food monitor, explains

The LMMS is very simple to operate, just like a mobile phone. Anyone can operate it; it requires a little training and basic computer skills.