Apptivate Africa introduces M-kapu voucher to cushion employees with reduced pay

The firm allows organizations to create dedicated accounts for employees and other beneficiaries, set food value limits that can be redeemed in food stores and supermarkets

In Summary

•It is estimated that a family of 4 will need between Sh4000 and Sh8000 for a month of essentials

•The current restriction of movement has made it difficult for many households to put food on the table 

A general view shows customers shopping for essential commodities in the Naivas Supermarket, as residents stock their homes amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Nairobi, Kenya March 23, 2020. REUTERS
Supermarket A general view shows customers shopping for essential commodities in the Naivas Supermarket, as residents stock their homes amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Nairobi, Kenya March 23, 2020. REUTERS
Image: Reuters

Apptivate Africa has developed a conditional voucher for essential goods to help employees with reduced pay and vulnerable households to meet daily food needs and cope with COVID-19 Shocks.

The firm allows organizations to create dedicated accounts for employees and other beneficiaries, set food value limits that can be redeemed in food stores and supermarkets, and Jumia Food countrywide.

Apptivate Africa chief executive officer Neil Ribeiro said the current restriction of movement has made it difficult for many households to put food on the table making them susceptible to infections on account of low nutrient intake and reduced immunity.

“While social distancing, hand washing, curfews, and quarantine can flatten the curve, we must also consider the role food and nutrients play in boosting immunity and help people especially in depressed households to fight the virus,” said Ribeiro.

He said promoting healthy eating using technology could make a bigger difference in containing the virus on a national scale.

The vouchers can be for any value to purchase household essentials like cooking oil, toiletries, milk, and dry foods like rice and sugar. It is estimated that a family of 4 will need between Sh4000 and Sh8000 for a month of essentials. 

According to a report by the Bankable Frontier Associates, over 80 per cent of Kenyans have decreased incomes and the expectation of significant adverse effects on financial well-being.

94 per cent said food topped their list of immediate needs followed by Healthcare at 55 per cent, money for other essentials was at 38 per cent and rent at 36 per cent.

Organizations can create M-Kapu accounts for their employees, upload a list of beneficiaries, and assign voucher value limits of between Sh100 and Sh28,000 to the beneficiaries.

“When your business turns and you want the employees to come back to work, you want to make sure that they are loyal, healthy, and motivated.   Ensuring that they and their families do not go hungry is one way to accomplish this,” said Ribeiro.

Beneficiaries can transact at approved merchants countrywide based on their assigned limits settled by employers, individuals’ donors, and other organizations through Apptivate.

The voucher, M-Kapu complements the government’s efforts of controlling the spread of the virus by allowing employers, government, religious organizations, individual donors, and non-governmental organizations to seamlessly fund and distribute essential food items to needy households through a digital wallet.

Digital food baskets will help Kenya flatten the COVID-19 curve by ensuring poor households continue to get uninterrupted food supply when their breadwinners lose a source of income or are forced to survive on a pay cut.

“We have negotiated special baskets with Jumia, Tuskys, and Chandarana Food Plus countrywide with an in-store pick-up or home delivery option.  This will ensure that households can get this benefit without a logistical headache,” Ribeiro said.