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The cash transfer programme

The Cash Transfer for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in Kenya is a grant programme that started in 2004 with the aim of providing regular and predictable unconditional cash transfers to households living with OVC. The programme objectives include improving access to education, reducing child mortality and morbidity rates, improving food security and encouraging birth registration. Care takers of OVC receive $48.00 every two months; they collect the money from a local post office.

Key findings

  • Beneficiaries prefer to receive cash than other forms of assistance (food aid, public works) because it gives them the freedom to spend the money on what they feel they need.
  • The quality of life of both the children and their families has improved. People are now able to construct permanent shelters, have adequate nutrition and pay health-related costs.
  • More children are going to school as a result of receiving the transfer.
  • The stigma of being an OVC has decreased and their value recognised, with extended family members showing greater willingness to foster them.

Policy and programme recommendations highlights

  • Improve targeting methods. At the moment a large number of children who are not necessarily orphans but are nevertheless extremely needy are left out.
  • Increase the frequency and amount of the cash transfer - currently they collect $48.00 every two months.
  • Enable beneficiaries to collect transfers in their villages so that they don’t have to travel long distances and pay for transport.
  • Involve beneficiaries and community members in the monitoring of the programme to increase ownership, transparency and sustainability.

Key facts 

  • 46% of Kenya’s population live under the poverty line with approximately 9 million children  in urgent need of support.
  • The estimated total number of orphans (0-17 years old) was nearly 2 million in 2008; most as a consequence of AIDS.
  • Between 2000 and 2010, a quarter of all children were working.
  • 6% of children were married by the age of 15 and 26% by the age of 18.
  • The number of people living with HIV remained unchanged in 2001 and 2009 at 1,500,000, having declined between 2001 and 2007.