Social protection in reducing poverty paper


Social protection

Social protection is deemed as an effective strategy for reducing poverty and facilitating inclusive growth among vulnerable groups (Fagan & Munck, 2018). It plays four essential functions, namely: protective, preventative, promoting, and transformative. The Protective function entails the provision of relief from deprivation such as income reliefs, state pensions, and cash transfers. The Preventative function aims at averting deprivation through the provision of social insurance. The Promoting function enhances income and capabilities through the provision of inputs to the vulnerable group. The Transformative function promotes social inclusion, equity, empowerment, and rights through enactment of laws such as the labor laws (Devereux & Wheeler, 2004).
The last two decades has, therefore, recorded an increase in volume, number, and types of social protection programs in Latin America, Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. These programs target economically and socially marginalized populations-including children, families without earning power, persons living with disabilities, and older persons (Davis, Handa, Hypher, Rossi, Winters, & Yablonski, 2016). Mexico’s Progress was the first designed CCT program in Latin America in 1997 with two primary goals: to improve education for the children and to transfer financial resources to the poor.
Brazil’s Bolsa Familia was designed to enhance human capital formation by transferring resources to the poor and is currently the largest CCT program with 11M beneficiaries (Cecchini, S., Maradiaga, & United Nations, 2011). Bangladesh’s Female Secondary School Assistance Program and Pakistan’s Child Support Program are examples of CCT programs in Asia. Major CCT programs in Sub-Saharan Africa, on the other hand, include Burkina Faso’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children; Nigeria’s Care of the Poor; Malawi’s Girls ´schooling program; and Kenya’s Older Persons Cash Transfer Program.
CCTs employ an integrated approach to poverty reduction. An integrated approach is one that works across sectors, is government-initiated and led, and sets measurable targets of poverty reduction (World Bank, 1999). CCTs, therefore, aim to achieve short-term goals of social assistance and long-term goals of human capital formation. The rationale behind their existence is to provide cash transfers to the poor households conditional on engaging in socially-desirable behaviors. For instance, Mexico’s Progresa was conditioned on school attendance and visits to the health centers by the beneficiaries (Skoufias, 2005). Brazil’s Bolsa Familia program required specific education and health conditionalities including enrollment of children aged 6 to 15 in school and taking children aged 6 to local medical clinics for periodic checkups (Abente, Diamond, & Johns Hopkins University, 2014).
Evidence from across Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa demonstrate that CCTs are essential tools for improving the welfare of the vulnerable groups (Fiszbein, Schady, & Ferreira, 2009). In Latin America, Harrington (2011) found that Mexico’s Progresa had a significant impact on school enrolment, decline in child malnutrition, and overall poverty rates among the poor. In Sub-Saharan Africa, Zambia’s Kalomo Social Cash Transfer Scheme increased income for the beneficiaries by 300 to 400 percent (Davis, 2016). Mchinji Social Cash Transfer Scheme in Malawi increased capabilities of the poor households in accessing food, education and health services and in acquiring assets such as livestock and permanent houses (Ndambo, 2016). Lesotho’s Old Age Pension Scheme reduced dependency rates among the older persons ().

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Numbers of benefits

The number of benefits (including providing households with minimum consumption floor, increase in school enrolment, reduction of dependency rates, and improvement in health conditions of the beneficiaries) derived from the implementation of CCT programs in Latin America, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa prompted Kenya to implement five CCT programs The Older Persons Cash Transfer Program launched in 2007 is the main focus of this study.
The policy rationale for the implementation of the OPCTP is captured by The Sessional Paper 10, 1965, The Kenya Social Protection Strategy (2009-2012), The Vision 2030 under the Social Pillar, The Kenya National Social Safety Net Programme, and the Constitution of Kenya (2010). The Sessional Paper 10, 1965 identified poverty as one of the significant constraints to development that the post-independence government needed to address (Republic of Kenya, 1965). The Kenya Social Protection Strategy (2009-2012) highlighted the importance of cash transfer programs in human capital development, averting inequality, and promoting investment activities among poor and vulnerable groups (Ikiara, 2009). The Social Pillar of the Vision 2030 aims to transform eight social sectors, key among them the promotion of equity and poverty reduction (). The Kenya National Social Safety Net Programme aims to cushion the poor and the vulnerable households against social-economic crisis such as drought, malnutrition, and unemployment. The Constitution of Kenya, on the other hand, stipulates that every Kenyan is entitled to social protection. Persons that are unable to support themselves and their dependents are entitled to receive social security from the Government of Kenya.

The O.P.C.T.P.

The O.P.C.T.P. provides regular and predictable cash transfer to poor and vulnerable older persons (65 years and above). The program used data from the 2015/16 Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey (K.I.H.B.S.) as the baseline for selecting beneficiaries. The O.P.C.T.P. further ranked beneficiaries using the poverty level, age of the oldest member of the household, number of orphans, number of disabled members, and number of the chronically ill members in the household as indicators. Since the launch of the program in 2007, there has been no case of a beneficiary exiting the program, a clear indication of its usefulness in the welfare of the senior citizens. Currently, the O.P.C.T.P is called “Inua Jamii” initiative under the Rapid Response Initiative (RRI).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Kenya continues to record high rates of poverty despite a decade and more of relatively strong economic growth. In spite of the high growth rates (6 percent of year-on-year in the third quarter of 2018), poverty incidence remains high at 45.2 percent (2009 estimates) despite coming down from 46 percent in 2005/2006 (Ngugi, 2013). A report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (2018) states that overall poverty rates in Kenya increase with advancement in the age of individuals. The Kenya integrated household budget survey, 2005/06 identified a relatively high vulnerability to poverty on the elderly population (53.2 percent) compared to other groups (the Republic of Kenya, 2007).

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