The Government continues to put a heavy premium on addressing the plight of the needy and vulnerable populations in the country by mounting various safety net interventions to cushion its citizens from extreme poverty.
Ministry of Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizen Affairs and Special Programmes Cabinet Secretary (CS) Prof. Margaret Kobia said that as part of these measures, her ministry has disbursed funds for three critical programmes targeting vulnerable groups in society.
Kobia said that in the Inua Jamii program, a total of Sh.8.542 billion has been disbursed benefiting a total of 1.067 million people.
“Under the Nutrition Improvements through Cash and Health Education (NICHE), we have disbured another Sh13 million to 339,151 beneficiaries. In the Presidential Secondary School Bursary programme, 22,000 beneficiaries have received a total of Sh400 million,” she explained, adding that a total of 1.123 million beneficiaries have benefited from the Sh8.955 billion disbursed so far.
The CS highlighted that the Inua Jamii programme is a government cash transfer initiative that supports the most vulnerable members of the community by providing them with a stipend to cushion them from poverty and hunger with the aim of improving their lives.
“The programme targets orphans and vulnerable children, older persons and persons with severe disabilities,” said Kobia.
She added that these beneficiaries have already been enrolled into the program and their accounts have been successfully submitted to the Consolidated Cash Transfer Management Information System.
Kobia said that the government has also released Sh13.045 million as top up payment to 339,151 NICHE Complementary Program beneficiaries.
“The NICHE is a Government of Kenya project that aims at investing in the scale-up of the existing nutrition-sensitive safety nets, and testing customised economic inclusion models – as a complement to the regular cash transfers,” explained Prof. Kobia.
She added that the NICHE Programme targets households with children under two years of age and pregnant or lactating mothers who are already enrolled in the Inua Jamii Programme.
“The 339,151 households will benefit from the top up of the NICHE payment depending on the number of children enrolled in the NICHE complementary programme in Kitui, Kilifi, Marsabit, Turkana and West Pokot counties,” said the CS.
On the payment status, Kobia said that the funds have been credited to the accounts of 1,067,805 Inua Jamii beneficiaries with payment expected to start on January 18, 2022.
“The Government is making this payment through the six contracted banks namely Cooperative Bank, Equity Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank, Post Bank, Kenya Women Finance Trust and National Bank,” she said.
The CS added that beneficiaries will receive Sh 8,000 being payment for months of July, August, September and October 2021.
“Beneficiaries or caregivers can access all or part of this payment at any time over a six-month period. Therefore, beneficiaries are advised that the funds will remain in their accounts for a period of six months, hence there is no need for all of them to rush to the banks to collect the money at the same time. This will avoid crowding at the payment points,” highlighted the CS.
Kobia said that payment modalities for the funds have been agreed between the Ministry and the paying banks to ensure the Ministry of Health guidelines on containment of COVID-19 are strictly followed while paying beneficiaries.
“These guidelines include utilisation of their mobile banking platforms to prevent crowding of beneficiaries at the payment points, ensuring social distancing by staggering payments, provision of handwashing facilities, sanitisers and masks for the beneficiaries during the payment, and ensuring that all biometric devices are cleaned and regularly sanitised,” disclosed the CS.
She added that the Ministry has adopted a multi-agency approach in the payment process involving the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, County Governments, Ministry of Health, elected leaders and Ministries’ field staff to ensure seamless coordination.
Kobia said that the Presidential Secondary School Bursary for the orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) is a flagship project under vision 2030 that was started in 2013 as a complementary programme for orphans and Vulnerable Children Cash Transfer programme (OVC-CT).
“The aim of the bursary scheme is to enhance secondary school access, enrolment, attendance and completion by OVCs in Kenya. Disbursement of this fund is constituency-based with all constituencies getting an equal allocation of Sh1.3 million,” she said.
Prof. Kobia said that in the 2021/2022 Financial Year, 22,000 students in public boarding schools will have their fees paid to a maximum of Sh30, 000 per student.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a