Lipa Na Bonga: How Safaricom Offer is Changing Us

  • A file image of a woman using a phone.
    A file image of a lady using a phone
    Simon Kiragu
  • No one could have prepared for what has happened in the past two months. A pandemic with no cure, travel restrictions and an unprecedented deceleration in business. As the vagaries of the current situation continue to push everyone against the wall, we must find ways to survive to make it through the other side, learning as we go.

    All I can think about is the Kenyan spirit that has shone time and time again, how will we come together during this time when we have to be apart?

    I recently found myself staring at the mirror for minutes on end, wondering what was becoming of me. "Had I lost hope? Why had I not learnt something new every day? Maybe I could have adapted faster. 

    So after the self-assessment, I go to my phone and while scrolling on my timeline I come across the Bonga for Good Campaign offer aimed at cushioning Kenyans against the economic effects of Covid-19. Interesting it is... an initiative that has seen Safaricom customers use Bonga Points to pay for essential goods and services.

    A user browsing through a smartphone for news.
    A user browsing through a smartphone for news.
    Simon Kiragu

    Then it hit me, I've never really used my bonga points, except for that one time on campus when I needed to upgrade my phone and I transferred 5000 points from my father's phone to buy a smartphone. It’s about seven years now!

    "They should be like a million points by now," I think to myself as I dial that all familiar *126# by muscle memory - after all these years, you'd think some things might have been forgotten.

    Not a million but enough. But it surely felt like a lot with the value of Bonga Points up by 50 percent, from 20 cents to 30 cents.
    As I redeemed some of my bonga points for some free bundles I couldn't help but think, there's more I can do. 

    Just then I got a whatsapp text from my barber. He went straight to the point telling me how his business had dropped to nearly zero clients and how he didn't know where his next meal would come from and he was in the dark, literally also, because the electricity tokens were depleted. 

    "How could one man be dragged down so many times?" I thought. Without a second thought I went to my M-Pesa to send him something. All I had was 50bob, but I could not let him sleep hungry. 

    Luckily I had my stash of points accumulated back in the day when I was making lengthy calls with my long-distance girlfriend Tasha - at least now there is a silver lining to that tumultuous relationship - *126# chapchap and I had sent them. I explained that he could pay for food, medicine, and even pay for his electricity with the points. 

    Twenty minutes later, he called me, almost bursting out in tears thanking me for helping him and promising several free shaves when things came back to normal - all I could think was, the only way we can make it out stronger, is together. We are #ApartNotAlone.

    Customers can continue using Bonga Points to buy goods and services as well as donate to those in need until 3rd June 2020.
    Customers can continue using Bonga Points to buy goods and services as well as donate to those in need until 3rd June 2020.

    Bonga For Good also extends to corporates who can donate their points to either employees or charity causes of their choice, showing an urgent necessity among individuals and families to access essential goods and services during this period.

    Looks like my barber isn't the only life touched by the Bonga For Good as Safaricom has reported that more than 200,000 customers had redeemed more than 670 million points equivalent to over Ksh200 million since it launched in April.

    The best part is that Safaricom has extended the Bonga For Good Campaign for an extra 30 days to June 3, 2020, to enable customers to continue using their points to buy goods and services as well as donate to those in need.

    It's simple, really:

    How to Lipa na Bonga:

    Dial *126#

    Select LIPA NA BONGA.

    Enter the till number that you would like to make a payment to.

    Enter the amount of money you need to pay.

    Confirm that you want to spend e.g. 450 Bonga points to make a payment of Ksh 150.

    To Donate Bonga Points:

    Dial *126#

    Select Transfer Bonga points

    Enter the phone number to transfer to.

    Enter Bonga points Enter Bonga.

    PIN Confirm details and send.

    #ApartNotAlone #SafaricomIsForYou