NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 27 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has launched Kenya’s first Social Protection Week whose objective is to create links among all government agencies involved in social protection schemes.
The flagship of the government’s social protection schemes are the cash transfer programmes to the elderly, orphans, the disabled and the Hunger Safety Net Programme.
During the one-week event, government bodies delivering social assistance and security will interact with each other and come up with an action plan to improve synergy and reduce mismanagement of funds.
Key to preventing duplication and mismanagement of funds for the vulnerable sections of Kenyans will be a biometric registration, which President Kenyatta launched as he opened the conference at the KICC.
The system will curtail duplication since the collection of payments will be pegged on the individual’s fingerprints.
The move to employ a biometric system comes after a directive issued by President Kenyatta last year to the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Services, to safeguard billions of shillings the government was allocating to support vulnerable people.
This financial year alone, the government allocated Sh13.6 billion to support cash transfer programmes for older persons; orphans and vulnerable children; persons with severe disabilities. The cash transfer programmes also include the Hunger Safety Net Programme targeting the most poor and vulnerable households in Turkana, Mandera, Marsabit and Wajir counties.
President Kenyatta said there is no dignity in poverty and it is unacceptable for 46 percent of Kenyans to live below the poverty line.
“There is little dignity for the destitute. There is little dignity for any nation that allows nearly half its people to continue in poverty,” said President Kenyatta.
He said the government will dedicate more funds to provide safety nets for those who have no means to support themselves.
“We expect that by the end of this fiscal year, 521,000 households across the country should benefit from the programmes,” he added.
He said the government has developed specific interventions on social protection to the youth, women and persons with disabilities, which include the National Youth Service 5 Point Vision, the Youth Enterprise Development Fund and the Uwezo Fund.
Other interventions are the Women Enterprise Fund, the National Development Fund for Persons with Disabilities, the Access to Government Procurement Opportunities, and the Youth Training and Internship Program.
He expressed the government’s commitment to protecting the rights of every working Kenyan by maintaining decent conditions of work including wages, working time, occupational safety and health.