Social Protection in Kenya: The Use of Cash Transfer Programmes in Progressively Addressing Poverty and Vulnerability

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för samhällsstudier (SS)


This research study focuses on the social protection sector in Kenya, with a special emphasis on social assistance programmes. Although Kenya has made strides in terms of economic development and the improvement of access to education and healthcare, 45.9% of the population continues to survive on less than $1.25 a day. It is evident that many challenges lay ahead in tacking the issue of poverty and deprivation in Kenya. However, the state, with support from external actors, has invested in the development of social assistance measures such as cash transfer programmes as a means of providing support to the poorest and most vulnerable households in Kenya. This research study investigated why and how these cash transfer programmes were adopted and delivered in addition to whether social transfer programmes helped the poor and vulnerable to progressively realise their economic, social and cultural rights. Findings showed that social assistance measures such as cash transfer programmes has a positive impact on the well-being of households that took part in programmes. Examples of this include increased households consumption and nutrition, increased access to social services such as health clinics and schools in addition to vulnerable groups feeling empowered and catered for by the state. Although Kenya is far from successfully addressing developmental challenges, the investment in social protection as a tool to address poverty and vulnerability shows remarkable promise. However, it is imperative that the state fully understands its role as a duty bearer and its need to remain accountable to its citizens. Moreover, the state’s point of departure when strengthening its long term social protection strategy and framework should be on the foundation of understanding social protection as a right of which its citizens are entitled. This in turn will progressively translate into more meaningful and tangible results that are universal and accessible by Kenyans who are entitled a decent quality of life. 

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