The number of Kenyans receiving direct cash transfers from the government has risen to 830,000, up from 295,000 in 2013.
Social Protection Principal Secretary Susan Mochache said this has also increased allocation for the programme from Sh7.9 billion in 2013 to Sh21.2 billion today.
“The cash transfers have made a profound difference in the lives of beneficiary households by improving their welfare and increasing their resilience,” she said in Nairobi on Tuesday.
Her speech was read by Miriam Owino, the head of administration at the State department of social protection, during the launch of the five-year strategic plan for the African Institute for Health and Development (AIHD) in Nairobi.
Kenya's cash transfer programme is closely studied across the world to add to the body of knowledge that giving cash to the poor and vulnerable people can sustainably keep them out of poverty.
In her speech, Mochache noted that the ultimate goal of these cash transfers is to reduce poverty, hunger, and vulnerability for poor people.
She noted there is a growing body of evidence that shows both conditional and unconditional cash transfers can make positive impact on the lives of the poor.
Deputy head at the social protection secretariat John Gachigi said that is why government's allocation has been rising.
“The cumulative budget for the last four years is approximately Sh80.5 billion,” he said yesterday.
Gachigi noted that the allocation resulted in reduction in poverty levels among the beneficiary households.
He said there was noted improved family health, with reduced frequency of illnesses of children and other family members.
AIHD executive director Wilkister Nyanumba-Bosire said the organisation worked with the social protection department to harmonise the National Safety Net Programme, the umbrella platform for all social protection programmes run by the State department.
“AIHD endeavours to meet the health and social well-being of communities and influence the input of the beneficiaries with a focus on community-based monitoring systems, crime and violence prevention, gender-based violence and social protection,” she said.
The AIHD was established in Nairobi by a group of African researchers, academicians and programme implementers in 2004.
The institute mainly focuses on implementing evidence-based programming through conducting research, training and implementing programmes on health and development issues that are contextually relevant to Kenya and other African countries.
Outgoing AIHD executive director Dr Mary Nyamongo encouraged local non-governmental organisations to partner with the government to improve lives of Kenyans.
“The government has been a great partner in all our programmes,” she said.
Dr Nyamongo said the 2017-2022 strategic plan prioritises partnerships, research, innovation and resource mobilisation as key drivers of growth.
She noted the organisation would engage more with local philanthropies and partners to generate resources to implement priority actions.
The ceremony was also attended by head of family health at the Ministry of Health Dr Mohammed Sheikh, head of non-communicable diseases division Dr Josphat Kibachio, Prof Gerald Yonga, the head of NCDs Research to Policy Unit at Aga Khan University and Prof Isaac Nyamongo, the deputy vice chancellor at Cooperative University among others.