Kenya: Govt Seeks New System to Identify the Needy in Social Protection Reforms

Nairobi — The government is considering a revamped identification matrix to help correctly identify needy and vulnerable households across all 47 counties.

The Enhanced Single Registry (ESR), a database being developed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection will be ready by December 2023, Stefanie Bitengo, an officer at the National Social Protection Secretariat said on Thursday.

In a paper presented at a Social Protection Conference, Bitengo said ESR will guide the government and other sector players in the identification of beneficiaries of social protection programmes, including the Inua Jamii cash transfer scheme.

ESR will provide integrated and harmonized data that promotes the effective delivery of social protection programmes and informs universal social protection policies, the paper indicated.

“The updated enhanced single registry will improve efficiency and support of growth of social protection measures that cushion the vulnerable populations,” Bitengo said.

The ESR, she said, will provide information about the beneficiaries of cash transfer programmes that include Inua Jamii, Nutrition Improvement through Cash transfers and Health Education Education (NICHE), and Hunger Safety Net Programme.

Bitengo said the information system will provide real-time data that will improve access to accurate data by government agencies and development partners.

“As social protection coverage grows, efficiency gains can be achieved by integrating and harmonizing data collection efforts,” she said.

So far, data is available for households in Baringo, Kilifi, Kisii, Kitui, Kwale, Laikipia, Lamu, Makueni, Migori, Murang’a, Narok, Taita Taveta, Tharaka, Vihiga, and West Pokot.

Others are Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir and Turkana, Isiolo, Tana River, Samburu, and Garissa counties.

Sh22 billion social inclusion plan

Bitengo pointed out that for social registries to be effective, they need to take into consideration the country’s social protection context and landscape.

Another key consideration is structures that will support the social registries, which include legal systems, citizen interface, and user programme.

The ESR is part of the Sh22 billion Kenya Social and Economic Inclusion Project (KSEIP), implemented with support from the World Bank, which has been running since 2019.