Do you think that the County Governments should fund or set up cash transfer programmes for the poorest and most vulnerable in their respective Counties?
HSNP Ending Hunger, Protecting Assets
The Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) provides a safety net for the chronically poor in four counties of Turkana, Marsabit, Mandera and Wajir by making regular, predictable cash transfers to vulnerable households and by scaling up the transfers during drought emergencies. The four target counties have the highest levels of poverty in Kenya, and are also among those at greatest risk of drought.
The first phase of HSNP started in 2009 and ended in June 2013:
• During this period 69,000 households (496,800 people) received 26 payments through biometric smart cards. Approximately two-thirds of these households were headed by women.
• The first payment was made in February 2009. The value of the cash transfer, made every two months, was originally Kshs. 2,150 per household but was later increased to 3,500. It was also doubled for one payment cycle during the 2011 drought.
• Implementation was carried out by a consortium of organisations responsible for different components of the programme, coordinated by the HSNP Secretariat under the Ministry of State for Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands.
• Funding was provided by DFID and AusAID, to a total of GBP 40.5 million. The government’s contribution during phase one was primarily in hosting the Secretariat, providing policy direction, and facilitating work on the ground.
Independent evaluation identified the following benefits for beneficiary households during phase one:
• 7% were lifted out of the bottom income decile
• 69% increased their expenditure on food and enjoyed a more diverse diet
• 20% increased their expenditure on education
• During the drought and economic crisis of 2011, poverty did not increase among beneficiary households (as it did among non-beneficiary households).
A second four-year phase of HSNP will start in September 2013 and is scheduled to end in June 2017:
• This will expand coverage within the same four counties. A comprehensive registration has already been carried out. Households receiving the regular bi-monthly cash transfers will be selected from the poorest 10% in each county. These may or may not be the same households as those which benefited during phase one.
• The number of beneficiary households will gradually increase from 69,000 to 100,000.
• The value of the regular cash transfer will gradually rise, starting from Kshs. 4,600 per household in 2013 and reaching Kshs. 5,400 per household by 2017.
• A more substantial number of households will be assisted during drought, and will be provided with Mastercards and bank accounts in advance to facilitate rapid transfers. All transfers will in future be paid into bank accounts.
• The government and its development partners will co-fund phase two, channeling all resources through the same payments mechanism. The Memorandum of Understanding signed between the National Treasury and DFID on 20th February 2013 commits the government to progressively increase its financial contribution to the programme, which is expected to be Kshs. 4.68 billion between financial years 2013/14 and 2016/17. Development partners (DFID and AusAID) are committing GBP 85.59 million.
It is expected that phase two will continue to reduce poverty, hunger and vulnerability in the focus counties, and that it will result in better and more sustainable safety nets for poor and vulnerable households in the ASALs.