Please provide a brief summary of the initiative including the problems/challenges it addressed and the solutions that the initiative introduced (300 words maximum)
HSNP has implemented a scalable cash transfer mechanism to quickly respond to drought and other similar disasters in the four counties of Turkana, Marsabit, Mandera and Wajir. The mechanism triggers the need for a cash transfer, based on a monthly vegetation condition index data that is received through a satellite and helps in identification of drought hit sub-counties. The drought assessment can also be made at further lower levels of administrative units, categorized by its severity. At normal times, HSNP responds to 26% of the household population in the 4 counties but during emergency situation, it scales up to 50% if the drought is severe or to 75% if it is extreme. The transfers are made through fully functional bank accounts in this remote region of Kenya and to enable households receive their cash transfers close to their households, program has invested in satellite connectivity for agents to use point of sale machines. The coverage of agents has also been expanded to 450 agents over time so that beneficiaries can be served in their sub-locations as due to lack of infrastructure, it is very difficult and expensive for households to travel to the branches. The debit cards given to the beneficiaries are PIN based as most of the population is illiterate and so cannot use the PIN. The good thing about the model is that its operations like data collection, communication, case management, monitoring is largely dependent upon the existing government and some non-government stakeholders which make the model more inclusive, transparent, sustainable and replicable as NDMA does not have to pay for their services except for its own programme staff.
a. What are the overall objectives of the initiative?
Please describe the overall objectives of the initiative (200 words maximum)
HSNP2 CORE OBJECTIVES
1. Reduce extreme hunger and vulnerability of the poorest households through the regular payment of an unconditional cash transfers;
2. Ensure effective, financially secure and well-targeted use of safety net and cash transfer programmes to support some of the most vulnerable and poor in Kenya;
3. Implement a scaled up, integrated, effective government-led and financed safety net programme.
b. How does the initiative fit within the selected category?
Please describe how the initiative is linked to the criteria of the category (200 words maximum)
HSNP fits well within the category of using innovation to boost access of quality services to the poorest and most vulnerable. HSNP is a MIS based programme that delivers unconditional social assistance, tax-financed cash transfers to poorest and most vulnerable Kenyan citizens across four poorest counties (Turkana, Mandera, Wajir and Marsabit). HSNP was developed to address issues of chronic poverty and hunger that faced the four arid Counties. In addition, because of the geographical location, the four counties also experience unique challenges that are not limited to: i) poor infrastructure (road networks, electricity, telecommunications, water supply scarce and low quality social amenities (hospitals, schools) ii) insecurity (terrorism, livestock raiding, banditry, tribal/clan clashes), hash climatic conditions (drought, floods), high rates of illiteracy all of which were exacerbated by the historical marginalization by economic policies of former regimes. HSNP scalable cash transfer mechanism is able to deliver assistance during critical times of severe and extreme drought thus help in reducing risks associated with drought. The targeted households are poor and are most vulnerable during drought and if they do not receive timely support, they adapt harmful coping techniques that include: selling off limited assets thus sinking further into poverty, pulling their children from school to help in search of water and pasture, reducing the frequency and portions of meals, borrowing more than they can pay to mention but a few.
The initiative should improve people’s lives, notably by enhancing the contribution of public services to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the realization of the SDGs
a. Please explain how the initiative improves the delivery of public services (200 words maximum)
HSNP is one of the flagship cash transfer programmes under the National Safety Net Programme (NSNP). The Government of Kenya established the NSNP fund as a redistributive measure under the social pillar of Vision 2030, to economically empower women and marginalised citizens. Further, HSNP towards the realisation of SDGs 1)No Poverty 2)Zero Hunger 3) Gender Inequality and 4)Reduced Inequality. HSNP improves the delivery of public services as it has developed and invested in decentralised systems that support the entire programme cycle. The systems can be accessed from the National to the sub-location levels. They support 1) Online and offline registration of households using MIS based and in-house developed registration software that is cost effective, efficient and promotes cost efficiency and ensures that the supports goes to those that deserve; 2)Case Management system that enables the programme address administrative and complaints by beneficiaries hence promote accountability 3)Field Communications system that enables HSNP effectively interact with beneficiaries using MIS supported SMS alerts and Voice Messages services sent to mobile phones in local language and enhance public participation 4)Internal monitoring system that is linked to the Early Warning System, (EWS) important in monitoring the impact of HSNP drought intervention across the four arid Counties.
The initiative must impact positively a group or groups of the population (i.e. children, women, elderly, people with disability, etc) and address a significant issue of public service delivery within the context of a given country or region.
a. Please explain how the initiative has addressed a significant issue related to the delivery of public services (200 words maximum)
HSNP was developed to address issues of chronic poverty and hunger that faced 4 arid Counties of Turkana, Mandera, Marsabit and Wajir. HSNP was operationalized in 2009 and is delivered in 2 Phases. Phase 1, the pilot (2008-2012), targeted 69,000 households (approx. 414,000people) costing Kshs. 5.5billion. The results of an impact evaluation study by an independent firm established that HSNP households were 10% less likely to fall into the poorest docile nationally additionally non-HSNP households were 7% poorer on average than HSNP households. On primary impact, 87% of HSNP households were having more frequent and larger portion of meals, spending more on health and education expenditure, enhanced credit worthy, reduced vulnerability to drought shocks (less likely to sell off their assets or remove their children from school) and enhanced empowerment of women (60% of primary recipient were women and were involved in decision making on use of the cash). Following the success of pilot phase, HSNP Phase 2 was rolled out from 2013 to 2018 and costs Kshs.15.8 billion. HSNP2 benefit 101,800 households (approx. 610,800 people) who receive regular cash transfer value of Kshs. 5,400 every two months. HSNP2 scales up during periods of drought emergencies and can reach up to 274,000 additional households (approx. 1,644,000people) depending on the drought status and available resources.
b. Please explain how the initiative has impacted positively a group or groups of the population within the context of your country or region (200 words maximum)
HSNP targets poorest households and most vulnerable in four poorest Arid Counties of Turkana, Wajir, Mandera and Marsabit. The four counties are located in the arid and semi-arid areas of Kenya that is characterised by chronic poverty, prolonged drought and were historically marginalised by the past regimes. Further, the cultural practices relegates women to household roles and denies them opportunities to access education and own property. Thus women in these four arid counties are further marginalised as they have the lowest levels of human capital development as demonstrated by high levels of illiteracy and low income levels. This puts Women and children at high risk of shocks of drought sinking further into poverty. HSNP intervention is helping in bridging the gaps of poverty and gender inequity in the four Counties. 60% of primary recipient of cash are women meaning, they are now involved in managing finances within the households and start small scale businesses to boost their livelihood. Evidence based studies show that HSNP households are spending more on consumption expenditures (more meals, larger portion, diverse diet), more access to education, health services and creditworthiness with improved psychosocial wellbeing.
The initiative must present an innovative idea, a distinctively new approach, or a unique policy or approach implemented in order to realize the SDGs in the context of a given country or region.
a. Please explain in which way the initiative is innovative in the context of your country or region (200 words maximum)
The major benefit of HSNP scale up emergency cash transfer design is the coverage of the population with a mechanism for receiving rapid emergency assistance, since nearly every household in the HSNP four counties (Turkana, Wajir, Marsabit and Mandera) has an active bank account. Furthermore, the ability of the HSNP and other programmes to make use of this mechanism speedily and without the need to physically disburse cash or other resources (i.e. by depositing money directly into households' bank accounts), is a unique characteristic of the HSNP's design. HSNP is also generally considered to have been instrumental in encouraging the shift from food to cash in drought response in Kenya HSNP is able to quickly respond to severe and extreme drought and can scale up to additional 274,000 households (approximately 1.6 million people) within a weeks. Further, the emergency scale-up facility can expand both horizontally and vertically , being targeted in multiple directions—geographically, at particular demographic groups and is capable of responding to many types of shock. The HSNP itself has already made a single ‘no regrets’ emergency payment to the entire of Group 2 in anticipation of El Niño in October 2015. The households receive these cash transfers through fully fledged active bank account and can withdraw using Master Debit cards and biometrics from bank agents located within the sub-locations. The programme policy on access of both regular and scale up HSNP payment is having payment agents located within a radius of 20KM. Beneficiary do not incur any cost.
b. Please describe if the innovation is original or if it is an adaptation from other contexts (If it is known)? (200 words maximum)
HSNP is amongst the first cash transfer programme in Kenya to develop a satellite based drought emergency scale up. This is an original innovation in Kenya and Africa. HSNP2 emergency scale up system has been lauded as global first mechanism that efficiently and effectively triggers drought response using cash transfers. The successes of the HSNP emergency scale-up facility have led to other countries being keen to learn from the HSNP experience. The Tanzanian government, for example, is exploring the development of a similar-style shock responsive programme using the HSNP as their reference point.
c. What resources (i.e. financial, human , material or other resources, etc) were used to implement the initiative? (200 words maximum)
Although the cost of HSNP registration may be considered high , the value for money of the system increases the more other actors use it and it involves minimal overheads. It is also linked to government systems embedded within the NDMA (e.g. the VCI and early warning systems). Emergency payments have been triggered 24 times since the start of Phase 2, with the first emergency payment made in April 2015. In total the system has paid out KES 2,852,969,150 ($28million) up to January 2018 to Group 2 households reaching 208,019 households (approx 1.2million people) multiple times . In addition, the government continues to progress with setting up the National Drought Emergency Fund (NDEF), which is intended to improve financial sustainability for drought response. The number of staff involved is 40 spread out from the National (Nairobi) to the four Counties of Turkana, Wajir, Marsabit and Mandera).
The initiative should be adaptable to other contexts (e.g. other cities, countries or regions). There may already be evidence that it has inspired similar innovations in other public-sector institutions within a given country, region or at the global level.
a. Has the initiative been transferred to other contexts?
INGOs such as OXFAM GB, Save the Children, Trocaire and others have benefitted from HSNP scale up mechanism. They access data from HSNP integrated MIS system that also provides communications and monitoring of scale up interventions.
The initiative should be able to be sustained over a significant period of time.
a. Please describe whether and how the initiative is sustainable (covering the social, economic and environmental aspects) (300 words maximum)
NDMA has a mandate to respond to drought emergencies in the country and so government of Kenya is and will remain committed to resource allocation for such mechanisms. NDMA has in the past been responding to drought emergencies through variety of means including food distribution by using variety of partners but with HSNP scale up mechanism, the thinking is changing and now a lot of focus is converging towards shock responsive scale up mechanisms to respond through cash transfers as it minimizes leakages, fraud, corruption to a large extent and also avoids need for logistics on the ground. NDMA has already setup a drought emergency fund which has received a contribution of 2 billions from the Finance and is able to receive funding from donor agencies. World Bank has also pledged to match the government’s contribution to the fund once the regulations are passed by the parliament which is to happen anytime soon with the new government in place now. The delivery model is highly sustainable as it depends upon government officers from other ministries without paying them any fees and the limited staff that programme maintains is way cheaper than responding through other ad-hoc mechanisms. The cash transfers through bank accounts mainly require communication and case management systems and both of these are implemented with support of government and non-government stakeholders on the ground. NDMA is also in process of taking over the data collection responsibilities by using its existing budget without any need for securing extra funding as the process has been designed to depend on the existing resources only. For the regular cash transfer component of HSNP, NDMA is already supporting the 65% of the case load through GoK resources and the remainder will also be taken over by NDMA in the next few years. NDMA is increasing its contribution on a yearly basis as DFID plans to exit from the programme.
b. Please describe whether and how the initiative is sustainable in terms of durability in time (300 words maximum)
HSNP scalable emergency cash transfer delivery model is highly sustainable as it depends upon government officers from other ministries without paying them any fees and the limited staff that programme maintains is way cheaper than responding through other ad-hoc mechanisms. The cash transfers through bank accounts mainly require communication and case management systems and both of these are implemented with support of government and non-government stakeholders on the ground. NDMA is also in process of taking over the data collection responsibilities by using its existing budget without any need for securing extra funding as the process has been designed to depend on the existing resources only. For the regular cash transfer component of HSNP, NDMA is already supporting the 65% of the case load through GoK resources and the remainder will also be taken over by NDMA in the next few years. NDMA is increasing its contribution on a yearly basis as DFID plans to exit from the programme. Further, the Government of Kenya has established a National Drought Emergency Fund (NDEF) geared towards addressing and responding to drought emergency. 20% of the NDEF is ring fenced for scalable emergency cash transfers thus assuring its durability over time.
The initiative should have gone through a formal evaluation, showing some evidence of impact on improving people’s lives.
a. Has the initiative been formally evaluated?
If yes, please describe how the initiative was evaluated? (200 words maximum)
Oxford Policy Management (OPM) is leading the independent evaluation of Phase 2 of the Government of Kenya's cash transfer programme for northern Kenya, the Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP), from 2014 to 2018. The evaluation consisted of four workstreams: impact evaluation, operational monitoring, policy analysis and communications and learning. The impact evaluation adopted a mixed methods approach designed to understand the effects produced by the HSNP on targeted households and individuals as well as communities and local markets. In order to assess these impacts a range of analytical methods were used:
• A Local Economy Wide Impact Evaluation (LEWIE) investigated the wider effects of the HSNP on the local economy. This approach allowed an understanding of
the local supply response to the increase in demand due to the injection of cash into local markets brought about by the transfers. It shed light on the potential multiplier effects of HSNP by simulating HSNP impacts on the entire local economy and on groups of households and production activities.
• A quantitative impact evaluation based on a Regression Discontinuity Design provided a robust estimate of aggregate programme impacts on households across various dimensions of interest. The quantitative survey comprised of a single round of post-treatment data collection.
• Three rounds of qualitative research complemented the quantitative studies by proving an understanding of programme context and how this affects and is affected by the programme. The qualitative research also captured the experiences and processes that produced outcomes of interest, enabled an assessment of impacts that were difficult to cover quantitatively, and provided complementary data on some of the topics covered by the quantitative survey to triangulate, validate and provide depth to the quantitative findings.
Overall HSNP evaluation took place between August and September 2015 and it involved 72 FGDs, 112 QPSs, and 53 KIIs. A software called NVivo was used to sort and analyse the content of the transcripts. Read more on HSNP2 Evaluation methodology and approach http://www.hsnp.or.ke/index.php/component/phocadownload/category/1-user-downloads?download=29:hsnp2-evaluation-component-approach-methodology
b. Please describe the outcome of the evaluation of the impact of the initiative (200 words maximum)
Some of the impact identified by HSNP2 evaluation include:
For routine recipients who receive regular payments every two months, HSNP is considerably strengthening their ability to cope with shocks.
Some have started businesses which diversify their livelihoods away from climate-sensitive livelihoods, others have used the transfer to increase livestock assets.
HSNP has allowed recipients to purchase on credit, as traders know that they will be paid back on payday.
A few wealthier households had saved, stocked up on food, or had bought water tanks to cope during droughts. HSNP has decreased the likelihood that routine recipients sell livestock in distress, in order to satisfy immediate cash needs.
Many routine recipients report using the cash on school fees and are thereby less likely to remove their children from school as a way to lower household costs.
HSNP helps prevent people from skipping meals as a strategy for lowering household costs.
Impact on household resilience has been greater for poorer routine beneficiaries, including female-headed households and looking after orphans, the elderly and the sick.
Those who received HSNP emergency cash transfers in the event of severe drought reported positive effects on meeting short-term basic needs such as retaining children in school, maintaining food consumption, and spending on healthcare.
c. Please describe the indicators that were used (200 words maximum)
HSNP evaluation provided an assessment of the programme impact on key household-level indicators such as consumption, asset retention and financial inclusion. But beyond this, it also seeked to understand the impact the programme on the local economy – that is, on local income, prices and livelihood activities, to understand whether there are spill-over effects from the transfers that are also affect non-beneficiary households.
The initiative must demonstrate that it has engaged various actors such as from other institutions, civil society, or the private sector, when possible.
a. The 2030 Development Agenda puts emphasis on collaboration, engagement, coordination, partnerships, and inclusion. Please describe what stakeholders were engaged in designing, implementing and evaluating the initiative. Please also highlight their roles and contributions (300 words maximum)
NDMA engages with a variety of stakeholders including NGOs, INGOs, donors, Ministries (interior, education, health, labour and social protection), service providers, politicians, county steering group, beneficiaries and general population for their involvement in the design, implementation, coordination, communication, monitoring and evaluation. The roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder are different with respect to their capacities. For example: NDMA uses Ministry of Interior staff at the local levels to communicate and resolve case management issues of the beneficiaries. NDMA is in process of involving the local staff of Ministries of Health and education in the case management to further increase the reach to the beneficiaries and also enhance the existing features of transparency and sustainability in HSNP programming at no cost. Similarly NGOs and INGOs are also being involved in the processes of communication and case management at the local levels. Equity Bank is implementing the cash transfer mechanism but NDMA is now considering to also include other banks and Telecom service providers to enable choice for the beneficiaries and further improve the delivery mechanism such that it is not dependent upon one service provider and brings in competition for the service providers to win over the beneficiaries by delivering even better services. NDMA manages the coordination aspect of programme by engaging with the stakeholders through a national cash coordination group and locally through county steering groups.
a. Please describe the key lessons learned, and any view you have on how to further improve the initiative (200 words maximum)
The HSNP’s emergency scale-up facility is a highly innovative system that is seen as having been instrumental both to the government’s response to the most recent extreme drought crisis in the country, and to the shift from food to cash interventions in response to drought. It is a highly adaptable system, capable of serving a variety of policy options. It can expand both horizontally and vertically (as well as other types of expansion), target resources geographically, at particular demographic groups etc. and is capable of responding to different types of shock. However, whilst this capacity to expand transfers vertically is there, it has not yet been utilised. The value for money of the relatively high cost of mass registration that the system relies upon increases the more actors that use it and it involves minimal overhead costs. It is integrated with other government systems such as the VCI and early warning. For these reasons the HSNP emergency scale-up facility is now influencing programme design in other countries.