The Kenya Government plans to pilot a cash transfer program that will enable the elderly and most vulnerable members of the society to buy food while coping with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, Kenya’s ‘ inua Jamii’ social protection program, provides cash to orphans and vulnerable children, older persons and people with severe disabilities.
Figures indicate that the Government allocated Sh33 billion to scale up the social protection and economic inclusion programme.
In the last six years, those who have benefited from the state’s cash transfer program have increased from 200,000 to 1.3 million, at the end of 2019. Funding has increased from KSh6.5 billion to KSh26 billion during this period.
Kenya’s National Safety Net Programme (NSNP) comprises four cash transfer Programmes: the Orphans and Vulnerable Children Cash Transfer; the Older Persons over 70 Cash Transfer; the Persons With Severe Disabilities Cash Transfer Programme; and the Hunger Safety Net Programme.
NSNP is administered jointly by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, the National Drought Management Authority, the Ministry of Health and the Council of Governors.
Thousands of families are already being supported in Wajir,Mandera, Marsabit and Turkana, under the Hunger Safety Net Programme.
Sprucing up Kenya’s Social protection safety net comes at a time when the Government is fine tuning its COVID-19 preparedness and emergency response in the health sector.
The last few days have seen more quarantine facilities being set up at the Counties with an increased supply of equipment such as testing kits, ventilators, and personal protection gear for medical personnel and surgical masks.
The World Bank Group is already rolling out a US$14 billion package to strengthen the COVID-19 response in developing countries and shorten the time to recovery.
The immediate response includes financing, policy advice, and technical assistance to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.