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UNICEF Social Inclusion, Policy and Budgeting

Cash Transfers for Vulnerable Children in Kenya: From Political Choice to Scale Up

Cover Image
AUTHOR Carlos Alviar and Roger Pearson
TYPE Working Paper
DATE 2009
TOPIC Child-sensitive social protection

During the course of the Kenya 2002 parliamentary elections, UNICEF launched a media campaign advocating for the removal of primary school fees and for a cash child benefit targeted towards the poorest families. The first major policy change made by the incoming Government of Kenya, within days of taking power, was to make primary school free. The Government also opened up space to discuss the introduction of a child benefit. UNICEF supported discussions around what it would cost to apply a child benefit in a number of different arenas, notably the newly set up parliamentary orphans and vulnerable children committee. UNICEF also supported a small-scale pre-pilot programme to support the policy debate and provided a first-hand look at what a cash transfer programme meant in practice, in testing existing capacities for implementation, and in applying lessons for future scale-up. The test areas in three very different parts of Kenya – poor urban, pastoralist, and low income, high HIV-rate agricultural – proved useful in showcasing the concept and for learning lessons for scale-up, and supported decisions to move to a full-scale pilot programme.

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