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PRESS RELEASE

World Bank to Help Expand Reach of Kenya’s Cash Transfer Programs for Poor and Vulnerable Households

October 31, 2013

WASHINGTON, October 31, 2013 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved US$10 million today to help Kenya prepare to expand the Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children Project, an initiative that is already supporting 153,000 selected Kenyan households through regular cash transfers.

Monthly payments through the program have helped households to send orphans and vulnerable children to school and provide them with basic nutrition and health care. There is strong evidence that the program, which is financed by the Kenyan government and a multi-donor trust fund managed by the World Bank, has helped  reduce child labor on farms and the vulnerability of adolescents in these households to HIV infection.

The new IDA* credit will help the Kenyan government to systematically include more households as part of this effort, sustain its good results, and draw lessons from its success that can be applied to other cash transfer programs under the country’s overarching National Safety Net Program. The funds will also be used to help Kenya to move towards electronic payments to safety net beneficiaries, and to develop an effective mechanism to handle complaints.

It is very encouraging that regular cash transfers to households with orphans and vulnerable children are helping to protect these children from the worst effects of extreme poverty,” said Diarietou Gaye, World Bank Country Director for Kenya. “This effort is now a part of a comprehensive national safety net program which we hope will help to reduce poverty in Kenya—still very high at 38 percent—and to build resilience on a large scale.

The World Bank-supported National Safety Nets Program includes five initiatives: the Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children, the Hunger Safety Net Program, the Older Persons Cash Transfer, the Urban Food Subsidy Cash Transfer, and the Persons with Severe Disability Cash Transfer.

In helping Kenya to reach the poorest and most vulnerable people in the country, we are deliberately focusing on results, and this new funding will help the whole national safety net system to function more effectively,” said Cornelia Tesliuc, Senior Social Protection Specialist at the World Bank and task team leader for the project.

* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing zero-interest loans and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 82 poorest countries, 40 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $16 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa

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PRESS RELEASE NO:
2014/168/AFR