From the Field: Innovative Cash Transfers Restore Hope and Dignity in Kenya
action against hunger
Informed by the results of our field assessments, and in collaboration with the local population, we implement programs that help families access food of a sufficient quantity and quality. Our programs include the distribution of agricultural inputs like seeds and tools; training in small business management and farming techniques; livelihood diversification activities; and support for community-led initiatives to manage natural resources, reduce the risk of disasters, and implement early warning systems. And just as we begin by conducting needs assessments, our work is not finished until we measure the impact of these programs on local communities. Though the activities vary widely, our interventions all share a common goal: to fight hunger by improving food security and strengthening livelihoods in a sustainable manner. n
There is no “one size fits all” strategy for helping communities rebuild their livelihoods after a crisis, and our response to Kenya’s political turmoil was no exception. The city of Nakuru had been particularly affected by the 2007 post-election violence that tore through Kenya, displacing populations along ethnic lines, disrupting livelihoods, destroying homes, and forcing families into makeshift camps. Our initial assessment called for cash-based interventions to support small businesses of those displaced by the conflict, but Nakuru’s diverse, urban environment presented certain challenges. Given the context, we devised an innovative program that enlisted a local bank to set up formal accounts for the recipients of cash grants. The project targeted heads of households who were single parents, elderly, disabled, chronically ill, or who had a family member in an emergency nutrition program. Through the program, 1,000 households received cash grants of $130 each, distributed in two installments. Over 80% of the participants were households headed by women, and all were required to attend financial management training sessions. Beneficiaries of the program used these grants for a range of short-term needs and long-term investments, from farming inputs to rehabilitating micro-enterprises. For example, one group of women formed a cooperative by pooling its money to buy motorized spinning wheels and raw wool. Despite a very modest outlay, this well-timed program helped restore independence quickly for some 1,000 families whose very livelihoods had been jeopardized by the outburst of political violence.
OUR STRATEGIES STRENGTHEN LOCAL LIVELIHOODS, ENSURING SUSTAINABLE ACCESS TO FOOD AND INCOME.
Identity booklet for ACTION AGAINST HUNGER | ACF INTERNATIONAL