In 2018, Kenya’s Ministry of Labour and Social Protection launched the newest phase of its social safety net programme Inua Jamii with an audacious goal: provide all beneficiaries with a full bank account and offer them a choice among four financial services providers. The Inua Jamii programme (Swahili for “uplift the family”) now reaches 1.2 million beneficiaries (as of the end of December 2019) across four programmes targeting particularly vulnerable groups in Kenya. Beneficiaries can access funds at bank branches and biometrically enabled agents of the bank of their choice.
In this case study, we examine how the Inua Jamii programme gradually introduced payments digitisation, then choice to design a programme that has successfully scaled to reach the most vulnerable groups in Kenya. We look at how the Kenyan government sought to offer beneficiaries’ choice, convenience, and ultimately, greater dignity in how they access and use their safety net payments and other financial services.
We detail how Kenya has enlisted private banks to deliver social benefits and has offered them incentives to promote outreach in rural areas. We also describe how development partners supported the transformation of the social safety net programmes.