More money allocated to older people's cash transfer in Kenya

09/06/2011

By Gacheru Maina

Kenya's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Uhuru Kenyatta has announced an increase in the money allocated to the cash transfer programme for older people as well as orphaned and vulnerable children. Age Demands Action activists met with the Ministry of Finance to demand an increase in the cash transfer. Age Demands Action activists met with the Ministry of Finance to demand an increase in the cash transfer. (c) HelpAge International Hon. Kenyatta allocated an additional Kshs 470 million (USD 5.4 million) to the social pension, known as the "Older Persons Cash Transfer", bringing the allocation to Kshs 1 billion (USD 11.4 million). Older people in the programme will now receive Kshs 2,000 (USD 25) a month as to opposed the previous 1,500.

Older activists met with the Ministry of Finance

The announcement comes following support from HelpAge International to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development on the cash transfer. This move also cements the achievements of last year's Age Demands Action campaign by HelpAge Kenya and older people in Kenya.

They met with the Ministry of Finance and the Budget team led by the Permanent Secretary and demanded an increase in the number of districts receiving the cash transfers as well as in the amount allocated.

There is still much to do

Approximately 6% of the older population now stand to benefit from the scheme. This signals, however, that there is still much to do to ensure income security in old age in Kenya.

After the motion for a universal pension to everyone over 60 was submitted in parliament last week, the announcement raises questions about the future of the programme and how long it will take to emerge as an entitlement for all.

Andrea McPherson, HelpAge's Social Protection Policy Officer, said of the announcement: "We welcome this step forward by the government, but remain optimistic about the motion for the universal pension tabled last week. The government faces a great challenge now in identifying who will benefit and who will not.

"80% of older Kenyans do not have access to formal income security, and are therefore vulnerable to poverty. The proposal for a minimum income in old age would be more cost effective and have a substantial impact on poverty beyond that of older people."

Kenya at the forefront of social protection in the region

Although the expansion of the Older Persons Cash Transfer is slow, it demonstrates that Kenya is at the forefront in the region in providing social protection for its citizens.

The increased allocation has come as part of additional investment in other cash transfers to vulnerable children and people with disabilities, which see Kenya closer to achieving the minimum package of social protection as defined by the African Union Social Policy Framework.

Post a comment | 12 comments

Comments submitted for this page

  • peter njuguna (02 October 2013)

    Kindly advise on how I'll go about helping elderly persons access this Fund.

  • Lilian Gitau (19 April 2013)

    What is the position of the policy on older persons?

  • Hebron Maghanga (07 February 2013)

    thats good idea, but how can the money reach the old person. what should i do

  • Catherine Wambui (29 September 2012)

    Great move KENYA, please share with the old people with disabilities in refugee camps too.

  • Navdha Malhotra (06 February 2012)

    Hi Eric,
    Thanks for writing in! See below a response to your question on old age allowances from Gacheru, our Regional Communications Officer in Kenya.

  • Gacheru Maina (06 February 2012)

    So far, 72 districts have been targeted to received the money. The older people are selected based on poverty levels. Those facing extreme poverty as well as older people taking care of orphans and vulnerable children are considered first.

  • Eric (02 February 2012)

    My question... what is the criteria that is been used to choose senior citizens who qualifty for old age allowances & how many districts have benefited so far out of the 250 districts in kenya thank you!

  • Sarah Marzouk (26 September 2011)

    Nzau, thanks for your comment. I would suggest getting in contact with the HelpAge office in Kenya. Their contact details are on the website here http://www.helpage.org/where-we-work/africa/
    Good luck,
    Sarah (from HelpAge).

  • Sarah Marzouk (26 September 2011)

    Nzau, thanks for your comment. I would suggest getting in contact with the HelpAge office in Kenya. Their contact details are on the website here http://www.helpage.org/where-we-work/africa/
    Good luck,
    Sarah (from HelpAge).

  • NZAU THOMAS (24 September 2011)

    My mum is 82 years old how can she access the old age support?

  • Tendayi Mazviwanza (10 June 2011)

    It is so appealing to not that our African countries are recognising their senior citizens. Kenya, thank you so much for appreciating the works your senior citizens did in the development of your nation. It is very important to give this kind of social support and protection especially at their retirement age. We just hope what you are doing will attract and be an eye-opener to others so that they could realize that being old is not a shame but rather a blessing to the family and nation as a whole. Thank you once again Hon. Kinyatta and Kenya as a nation

  • Hleziwe (10 June 2011)

    Though much work is still needed, this is quite commendable. Kudos to the entire team! Next step is to make this global....

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