Rather than a ‘cost’ to the state, social protection is an essential component of any sustainable, national economic growth strategy. Most of the world’s successful economies are significant investors in social protection, with spending across the OECD averaging 12 per cent of GDP.
In mid-July we interviewed a subset of FSD Kenya/CARE’s Building Livelihoods programme beneficiaries in Northern Kenya to understand the extent to which resources built up through the programme are supporting resilience of beneficiary households during COVID-19, and how these compare and interact with traditional pastoralist coping mechanisms.
Over the past four years, FSD Kenya’s Building Livelihoods programme in Northern Kenya has explored how extremely poor households can be transitioned out of poverty and into sustainable livelihoods through stronger engagements with markets.
After three months of Covid-19 restrictions, Jennifer’s economic options have run out. She is five months pregnant, and the baby’s father has blocked her calls. She hasn’t been able to pay rent in three months and worries that she and her children are on the verge of eviction.
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.
During a recent visit to Sierra Leone, I was fascinated by the country’s rich history, friendly people and the beautiful beaches of the Freetown peninsula, with miles and miles of white sand – albeit almost empty.
Throughout this blog series I have examined FSD Kenya’s Building Livelihoods programme from an identity perspective. I have shown how the Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) creates valued identities in the community and how there are different pathways to savings group identification and value.
The role of community-based facilitators (CBFs) is to encourage participation in savings groups, ensure groups function effectively, and provide training on basic financial and business skills, as well as prepare participants for formal loans.
Over the past two years I have travelled to Marsabit County in Northern Kenya four times to talk to the same 50 people about their lives and experiences as participants of FSD Kenya’s Building Livelihoods programme. The programme aims to help participants develop sustainable livelihoods through business.
FSD Kenya’s Building Livelihoods programme is a market-based adaptation of the Graduation approach popularised by BRAC in Bangladesh. Over a period of two years, participants shared stories about their lives and early experiences with the programme giving insight into who they are and how they think and change throughout the programme.
Our first blog in this series discussed the Hunger Safety Net Programme and savings groups (SGs), for which we’ve also sought to use market based approaches. Part Two, discusses the use of a market based approach in graduation programmes.
The impact of the recent six-month drought is readily apparent. The earth is dry and cracked and most of the trees and shrubs are barren. Riverbeds are full of dried branches and the livestock that roam the area are but skeletons, with many dead along the road.