Kenya Red Cross ventures into hospitality sector


(eTN) – When last week the MP for Wajir South, one Muhammed Sirat, was thrown out of parliament in Nairobi by the Speaker, it became wider public knowledge that the Kenya Red Cross Society was in the business of investing in sustainable and viable projects to secure a regular income towards its many charitable activities. Sirat, called a “brainless attention seeker” by one of his colleagues on condition of anonymity, had tried to smear the Kenya Red Cross and Red Crescent Society by attempting to accuse them of misusing donations to build a business empire, before then accusing other MPs of trying to silence him, prompting his ejection from the chamber for his misconduct.

Fact is, that the Kenya Red Cross and Red Crescent Society depends presently on an overwhelming scale on donations by well wishers and from international organizations, to carry out their work for emergency relief services, clinics, and towards their public health programs. Donations, however, depend not only on the goodwill of givers but are, like much else, subject to economic cycles. Inflation in Kenya presently runs at over 15 percent, according to the latest figures available. Fuel prices are, as of today, up again, and the economic outlook remains clouded in spite of positive underlying factors. Hence, strategists have, within and close to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Society in Kenya, decided to enter into business ventures, namely the hospitality sector, which over the years has persistently paid dividends and earned returns.

While these businesses itself are taxable, the income generated for the Red Cross will go towards financing their humanitarian programs, opening a second axis of funding that is much needed, considering the demand on the Red Cross’ services, especially during this period of drought, or considering the influx of refugees from Somalia for instance.

In Nairobi, the Red Cross Society is involved in the Red Court Hotel, as it is already in Nyeri, where a sister facility is in operation, but more ventures are planned for Kisumu, Eldoret, and Malindi according to information available on their website. Another high-class property is due to open in Nairobi before the end of the year, too, to further expand the society’s investments. Their new hotel expects to opens its doors in December 2011.