The Prime Minister, Right Hon. Raila Odinga, officially launched the Utu Scheme, on Tuesday, 18th November 2008, at the Hilton Hotel, describing the initiative as a noble undertaking by the Kenya Red Cross. He commended the Society describing it as "a friend indeed."
The PM also had a special mention of the national Society for responding to diverse disasters, both natural and man-made in Kenya, adding that the Kenyan fraternity had confidence in the Society's exemplary work.
"Red Cross does a lot of work in alleviating human suffering, not only inside but also outside the country. The ingenious project (Utu Scheme) should be supported by all right thinking Kenyans," Hon. Raila said.
The Prime Minister lauded the Society for assisting thousands of people displaced by the recent post election violence, floods and urban fires. He said the country should not suffer much loss due to disasters such as floods and collapse of buildings, which can be tackled by environmental and building regulations.
The Secretary General of the Kenya Red Cross, Mr. Abbas Gullet, underscored the importance of setting up a fundraising scheme that would enable the Society to mobilize resources in an all-inclusive and well-focused manner. He noted that activities of the Kenya Red Cross include disaster response, and covers other fields such as health, water and sanitation. The Secretary General saluted the Kenyan public, Red Cross Movement Partners and donors for their generous support.
Kenya Red Cross Goodwill Ambassador, Mrs Gina Din-Kariuki, thanked the Prime Minister for launching the Utu scheme and assured him of robust plans by the Society to ensure the success of the new scheme.
The Kenya Commercial Bank Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Martin Oduor, had special mention of the Kenya Red Cross reputation in the humanitarian work. He promised to mobilize funds for Utu Scheme through the bank's countrywide network. The CEO presented a cheque of Ksh500,000 from the bank towards the Scheme. The Prime Minister, Hon. Raila Odinga, donated Ksh100,000 from his office to the Utu scheme.
The meeting was informed that a number of corporate organizations, among them Safaricom Limited and Barclays Bank, had pledged their support to the scheme.
The launch of the Scheme was also attended by the Minister for Regional Development, Hon. Fred Gumo, Assistant Minister for Special Programmes, Hon, Mohamud Ali Mohamed, members of the Kenya Red Cross National Executive Council, Dr Asha Mohammed, the Head of Eastern Africa Zone of International Federation of the Red Cross/Crescent Societies (IFRC), representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Red Cross Movement Partners and corporate organisations, among others
The launch of a Personal Fundraising Scheme: UTU-The Power of One' aims to harness the Kenyan power of giving. UTU is a Swahili word that draws from a wide range of human virtues like humanity, kindness brotherhood or neighborliness and care.
UTU scheme aims to tap into existing infrastructures, through collaborative partnerships with various institutions and companies. These channels will include banks and financial institutions, payrolls and Mpesa, among others. We believe everyone can make a difference and everyone includes you. For this reason UTU is open to anyone who can make a monthly contribution towards Kenya Red Cross Humanitarian activities.
With UTU, Kenya Red Cross has provided an opportunity for Kenyans to make a real difference in their society. The Scheme will also enable contributors to build closer and long-term relationship with the Kenya Red Cross.