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Kenya, 30 January 2015: First-ever social protection conference concludes with a joint call to action

30 January 2015 – Stakeholders in the social protection arena have called on the Government of Kenya to progressively increase financing for social protection in the country and ensure expansion in a sustainable manner. This was among the top calls for action at the conclusion of the first-ever National Social Protection Conference Week in Kenya.

The conference was held from 27 – 30 January 2015 at the Kenya International Convention Centre in Nairobi. The theme was ‘‘Enhancing Synergy in Social Protection Delivery’’ bringing together over 300 national, regional and international participants.

Key speakers included international and local experts in social protection providing a platform to meet and learn from each other’s experience and explore areas of collaboration. Through the convention the government can enhance delivery of the social protection goal of reducing poverty and vulnerability in the country.

During the conference a number of key issues on social assistance, social health insurance and social security were discussed. The meeting appreciated the significant progress that the government of Kenya has made in launching and strengthening social protection programmes in Kenya.

For example, the government’s support to social assistance programmes has grown significantly over the past ten years. Cash transfer programmes, on the social assistance instruments, have risen in coverage from 500 households in 2004, to 521, 000 in 2014/15. The government doubled its funding to the main cash transfer programs.

Similarly, there have been improvements in the delivery of social health and security schemes in the country, with recent policies and legislation seeking to extend their coverage and improve efficiency for both contributory and non-contributory schemes. “My Ministry set up a Single Registry to allow individual cash transfer program MIS to talk to each other,” said Hon. Kazungu Kambi, Cabinet Secretary for Labour, Social Security and Services. “From my Ministry I speak with confidence that we shall enhance our single registry to include all poor and vulnerable households to enable social protection actors to easily identify programmatic gaps for SP interventions.”

Development partners who have supported the sectors since 2004 including the World Bank, UNICEF, Sweden, UK Aid, ILO, WHO, WFP, FSD, and other non-state actors who have committed themselves to continue working closely with the government to strengthen these schemes.

“The Development Partners represented here stand ready to provide the necessary support and are committed to improving the social protection sector in Kenya, in line with the country’s development priorities,” said Diarietou Gaye, World Bank Kenya Country Director. “We look forward to continued support to your Government in its efforts to expand coverage of the programs, improve delivery and create synergies for better results.”

However, the conference recognized that fragmentation in social protection implementation remains a key challenge globally, including Kenya. Current levels of coverage and the level of benefits of social protection interventions in Kenya are still far below adequate to meet the needs of children, workers, the older persons; persons with disability; poor out-of-school adolescents and youth. It is estimated that only 13 per cent of the poor and vulnerable benefit from these interventions.

UNICEF Deputy Representative Madhavi Ashok said, “UNICEF has estimated that around three quarters of children in Kenya are currently deprived of one or more of their basic rights. Since 2004, Kenya’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children Cash Transfer Programme has supported around 1 million children from the poorest families, children being cared for by grandparents, families affected by HIV and AIDS or disabilities.”

To this end the meeting developed a Joint Call to Action which requires the government to commit itself to key actions to improve the sector and address key challenges in the short, medium and long-term.


For further information contact:

Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Services,
Bishops Road, Social Security House
P.O. Box 40326 - 00100, Nairobi
Telephone: +254 (0) 2729800
Fax: +254 020 2726497
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