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FEATURE STORY

Give Us Your Feedback: The Kenya National Safety Net Program for Results Environmental and Social Systems Assessment

May 6, 2013

The Kenya Government plans to establish a National Safety Net Program (NSNP) that will provide a coordinated and harmonized framework for the five main cash transfer programs: the Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children; the cash transfer for Persons with Severe Disabilities; the Older Person’s Cash Transfer; the Urban Food Subsidy Cash Transfer; and the Hunger Safety Net Program.

As part of the project preparation and appraisal process, the World Bank conducted an Environmental and Social Systems Assessment (ESSA), which is now undergoing the consultation process for review and feedback by May 13, 2013.

About the NSNP

The main aim of the NSNP is to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of safety net support to poor and vulnerable populations in Kenya. Establishing the NSNP will be the first critical step in a longer-term reform agenda aimed at establishing a national safety net system. The specific objectives of the NSNP are to: (i) create more robust systems for targeting, beneficiary registration, payments, and monitoring, among others, in order to strengthen the overall governance of these programs; (ii) increasingly harmonize the five cash transfer programs to increase coherence of the safety net sub-sector; and (iii) expand the coverage of the five cash transfer programs in a coordinated manner to progressively realize the right to safety net support.

About the ESSA

The World Bank proposes to support the NSNP with a new program-for-results (PforR) operation. The ESSA was aimed at reviewing the existing government systems, as they relate to the NSNP, in terms of their capacity to plan and implement effective measures for environmental and social impact management. More specifically, the ESSA reviewed the government’s regulatory and administrative frameworks and the capacity of the relevant implementing agencies to put them into practice, including any previous relevant experience in the sector, and compared them with the environmental and social effects that are likely to be associated with the NSNP. The aim in undertaking this assessment has been to determine if any measures are required to strengthen the government’s environmental or social management systems, which will then be detailed in a Program Action Plan to be mutually agreed between the World Bank and the Government of Kenya and implemented by the government.

This assessment focuses on the social effects of the five cash transfer programs as they are not considered to have had any direct environmental effects. It mainly evaluates whether there is equitable access to the existing cash transfers and whether the programs are meeting the needs of vulnerable and marginalized groups. These issues were assessed by paying attention to how poor, vulnerable and marginalized groups are included in, and therefore benefit from, the five cash transfer programs, specifically through the targeting of the transfers. The assessment also examines the measures put in place to ensure that vulnerable and marginalized groups have a say in the programs, for example, through consultative processes and grievance and appeals mechanisms. It also considers questions of targeting, power imbalances at the community level, the role of local administrators in controlling access to the programs, existing public complaints and grievance structures, social conflict, and gender. 

If you have any views or feedback on the assessment please share them with William David Wiseman at wwiseman@worldbank.org.