• Murang’a county director of social services Lucy Gakere said the process of selecting beneficiaries will include stakeholders and target the most vulnerable families.
• The beneficiaries will be drawn from Murang’a East and Murang’a South, two of the largest subcounties in the county that also grapple with poverty occasioned by their semi-arid nature.
The national government will support 3,000 poor families from Murang’a county in a poverty eradication programme aimed at uplifting destitute households.
The families will be enlisted in the Kenya Social Economic Inclusion Programme (KSEIP), a five-year World Bank-funded project that aims at strengthening delivery systems for enhanced access to social and economic inclusion services for poor and vulnerable households.
The beneficiaries will be drawn from Murang’a East and Murang’a South, two of the largest subcounties in the county that also grapple with poverty occasioned by their semi-arid nature.
Murang’a county director of social services Lucy Gakere said the process of selecting beneficiaries will include stakeholders and target the most vulnerable families.
The programme is set to take off in June this year following a successful piloting that saw 1,500 poor households benefit.
“The pilot programme that started in 2019 will end in June just as the next phase starts and has been very successful,” she said.
The programme was piloted in five counties including Murang’a, Kisumu, Makueni, Taita Taveta and Marsabit and saw disadvantaged families supported to start income generating activities.
Each family received Sh30,000 to start small businesses and another Sh24,000 that was disbursed as monthly stipends of Sh2,000 to support them with their daily needs.
The majority, Gakere confirmed, were beneficiaries of cash transfer programmes that support the elderly, extremely poor, orphaned and vulnerable children and persons with severe disabilities.
A total of 750 families benefited in the pilot programme from each of the two subcounties and are now able to stop depending on the cash transfer programme and earn their own income.
The beneficiaries, the director said, excelled in the programme despite the prolonged drought that affected most parts of the country.
She said the drought mostly affected beneficiaries who chose to engage in agribusiness but noted that all benefiting families are now financially independent.
“The families can now sustain themselves financially and we go on to the next phase of the project and target other needy homesteads,” she said.
She however confirmed that the World Bank had engaged a consortium that was charged with helping families come up with viable income generating activities.
After their businesses took off, the beneficiaries were then registered in village savings and loan associations to help them consolidate their earnings.
The families save some part of their income to the associations every day before they can eventually access small loans.
Gakere said in Murang’a East, beneficiaries were able to save over Sh4 million while those in Murang’a South consolidated about Sh2 million.
“Through the village associations, the families will be able to expand their businesses even after the programme ends,” she said.
A research recently released by the National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) indicated that 50.4 per cent of families in Murang’a county are not comfortable with their financial situation.
About 55.8 per cent of families do not have savings, while one out of 10 families is heavily dependent burdened by debts.
This, the study indicated, is as a result of poverty prompted by lack of employment, with only 56 per cent of respondents indicating they were in some form of employment.
The study further noted that 43 per cent of homes were multi-dimensional poverty, meaning they have poor access to nutrition, education, information, water, sanitation and housing.