Evaluation of the Kenya Hunger Safety Net Programme - Phase 3

We provide technical assistance to the Government of Kenya (GoK) as the Hunger Safety Net Programme moves to full GoK ownership and a comprehensive assessment of programme operations and impact of the GoK’s Economic Inclusion Programme.

The Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) has been delivering unconditional cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households in Turkana, Marsabit, Mandera and Wajir in northern Kenya since 2009. By 2018, the HSNP delivered 5,400 Ksh (~£40) every two months to nearly 100,000 households. Mass registration efforts across the four counties mean that during times of shock, mostly defined by drought conditions, the HSNP is able to rapidly scale up and reach up to a further 250,000 households.

The third phase of the programme will transition the HSNP to full Government of Kenya (GoK) ownership and financing whilst continuing to support 100,000 vulnerable households with regular cash transfers and additional households during shock. The primary aim of FCDO’s support to the HSNP Phase 3 is to build capacity within GoK to fully takeover the management, leadership and coordination functions required to deliver HSNP.

Further, the GoK is committed to building an integrated social protection system, moving beyond cash transfers, to enhance social and economic inclusion of poor and vulnerable households and individuals. Through the Kenya Social Economic Inclusion Programme (KSEIP), the GoK will test a systems approach to economic inclusion through five county-level pilots and generate knowledge with a view to scale up.

The challenge

Over the past decade, Kenya has experienced steady economic growth and declining poverty incidence. Despite this, the rate of poverty and inequality remains high and many Kenyans lack food security or the income to access good health care or to send their children to school. Further, many non-poor Kenyans remain vulnerable and face the risk that the occurrence of small shocks may push them below the poverty line. These challenges are especially prevalent in the arid and semi-arid lands in northern Kenya where recurrent periods of severe drought result in families using negative coping strategies, such as selling off livestock to afford food, which weakens their livelihoods and causes a slide into a vicious cycle of poverty.

The Kenyan Government has made significant progress in strengthening its social protection system. The social protection sector aims to reduce poverty, promote equitable growth and social inclusion as well as respond to emergencies such as drought. In line with these aims, the government is implementing an Economic Inclusion Programme (EIP), which aims to achieve sustainable improvements in households’ income and livelihoods by providing individual self-empowerment strategies through investments in human capital development, skills training, and providing an asset transfer and stabilising consumption through a regular cash transfer. The GoK is testing two approaches to economic inclusion in order to learn lessons for scale up. Additionally, to enhance the shock-responsiveness of the social protection system, the GoK is expanding the coverage of the HSNP into four additional counties, whilst taking over the programme’s management, ownership and financing.

Our approach

Support to HSNP's operational monitoring

We provide technical assistance to HSNP’s operational monitoring to strengthen the process of data collection. We also monitor service delivery quality during the transition process to identify areas in which programme quality is changing and, if necessary, to propose remedial action where programme quality might be falling.

Capacity assessment to deliver HSNP

We conducted a capacity assessment to look at the capacity of the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) to deliver the HSNP and advised on what the identified capacity issues mean for the transition to full GoK management, including the implications for capacity building. We also provide on-going monitoring of the capacity building and transition process to inform NDMA’s capacity building and transition plans.

Process review of economic inclusion pilots

We will assess the core implementation processes of the EIP to understand the extent to which both programme design and implementation is compatible with GoK systems and explore whether the GoK has the required capacity to deliver and scale-up the programme.

Impact evaluation of economic inclusion pilots

Our mixed methods impact evaluation aims to identify, quantify, and explain the causal effects of the EIP on the socio-economic conditions of beneficiaries, and their communities. The impact evaluation is based on an experimental quantitative design (an RCT), and exploratory qualitative research at community, market and household levels.

Deep dive studies

This evaluation also has a flexible fund to produce research to respond to the evidence needs of GoK, FCDO, and the World Bank. The first deep dive study comprised an evaluation of the FCDO-funded Covid-19 cash transfer in Nairobi and Mombasa that explored the impact of the cash transfer on recipients’ food security, use of coping strategies, and sense of well-being and provided an assessment of the programme’s implementation.

Outcomes and wider impacts

Our support to the NDMA provides crucial information about the process of transition of the HSNP to GoK and quality of service delivery during transition.

The findings from our impact evaluation and process review of EIP will inform the design of future phases of the programme, including planned scale-up by the GoK, and feed into wider international debate on the role of economic inclusion programming in poverty reduction.

Evaluation findings

The findings of the evaluation may be downloaded here:

The full evaluation data have also been published on the World Bank website.

For further information see:

HSNP’s homepage

OPM’s evaluation of the HSNP in Phase 1 and Phase 2

The World Bank and KSEIP

Areas of expertise