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Parents call for extension of the cash transfer plan

Parents in Kajiado County have appealed for the extension of the Universal Children Benefit Programme (UCBP) which comes to a close in December this year.

The one-year programme implemented through the State Department for Social Protection is being funded by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Save the Children and the World Food Programme (WFP).

The programme targets vulnerable families and seeks to protect children under the age of three from severe malnutrition and poverty.

A total of 8,265 children from the three counties have been receiving a monthly stipend of Sh800 since the inception of the programme in December 2021.

In Kajiado County, 2,292 children from 2,103 registered households have benefitted from the programme which focuses on improving the education, health, and nutrition of the children.

Mary Wanjiru, a beneficiary of the programme from Kajiado Central, noted that the funds have enabled her to provide food for her two children after she lost her job during the Covid -19 pandemic period.

Wanjiru added that without the funds, it would have been a challenge to provide food for them as it has been hard for her to secure employment.

She called on the government to extend the programme and expand it to cover children from the ages of 0-18 years so that more vulnerable households could benefit.

“I am very grateful for the programme as it has enabled me to provide food for my children after I lost my job. With the funds I am able to buy enough food thus ensuring that my family does not sleep hungry,” said Wanjiru.

Another beneficiary Alice Naserian said the funds were timely as many families were suffering due to the high cost of living.

Naserian appealed for the extension of the programme adding that it has helped cushion many children from severe malnutrition and the effects of the on-going drought in the county.

According to Nancy Sironga, Programme Officer Save the Children International, the UCBP allows registered households the choice and flexibility of allocating resources to meet the needs they find most pressing be it food, medicine or clothing.

Sironga said apart from cash, the mothers and caregivers receive education on child care, breastfeeding, nutrition, positive parenting and registration of children.

By Rop Janet

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