Lamu elders to be trained on using monthly stipend

A section of elders in Lamu PHOTO/FILE.

Lamu, KENYA: Lamu elders who benefit from the free monthly stipend for elders from the national government will for the first time get the opportunity to benefit from a special entrepreneurial program meant to sensitize them on how well to put the money to good use.

Lamu West MP Stanley Muthama said the program is meant to help the elderly benefit maximumly after receiving the monthly stipend that ranges between Sh.3000-4000.

Speaking in his office on Monday, Muthama pledged to also ensure the stipend is increased to at least Sh.5000.

He said his office was in the process of ensuring all elderly persons in Lamu West are dully registered so they can benefit from the monthly stipend.

Muthama noted that there have been longterm challenges regarding communication on how the elderly persons should receive the stipend.

All beneficiaries of the programme have to travel from Lamu to Malindi to receive the stipend every month.

Many say the situation leaves them with nothing by the time they get back home as they have already spent a good amount of the money on transport costs to and from Malindi.

A normal bus trip from Lamu to Malindi costs Sh.1000.

That’s means to and from Malindi costs Sh.2000.

The elders said the transport cost and some meal on the way leave them with empty pockets and asked the government to make alternatives for them to receive the money including by M-PESA.

Muthama said he was aware of the stress the elders have to go through before they finally receive the stipend especially those from Boni land whose villages are far from the mainland.

He said he was working on a program that would enable the elders to receive the monies right in their houses instead of having to travel to Malindi.

“Its unfortunate that all this while the elders of Lamu have to travel all the way to Malindi in order to receive their monthly stipend.For people of their ages, it’s not only tiring but also unreasonable since they spend more than half of it on transport alone such that by the time they come back, they literally have nothing.My office is working on ensuring the monies are brought to the doorsteps of these elders very soon,” said Muthama.

The legislator’s sentiments come at a time when elders from the terror-prone Boni community in Pandanguo, Bargoni, Milimani, Basuba, Mangai, Mararani and Kiangwe villages have been nagging the government to increase the stipend.

Many of the elders also complained that majority of them haven’t been receiving the stipend since they hadn’t been registered.