The Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) is a critical social protection initiative in Kenya, providing unconditional cash transfers to the most marginalized households in arid and semi-arid lands.

HSNP Phase 3 aims to expand the Nutrition Improvement through Cash and Health Education (NICHE) program, which integrates cash transfers with nutrition counseling and other supportive services. This assessment was conducted to assess the readiness of eight HSNP counties including Turkana, Marsabit, Samburu, Isiolo, Tana River, Garissa, Mandera, and Wajir for the expansion of the NICHE program.

Summary of Key Findings and Recommendations

The assessment employed a participatory qualitative approach to gauge the capabilities across four domains: system, technical, organizational, and community capacities. Key findings and recommendations are as follows:

System Capacities: Notable deficiencies were identified in the regulatory and oversight frameworks related to social protection. The assessment, however, revealed numerous opportunities for strengthening social protection policies in the counties. Encouragingly, there is a clear commitment from the political class to draft laws, policies, and guidelines that facilitate social assistance programs in the respective counties.

Technical Capacities: Concerns were raised regarding the availability of adequate indicators and tools for reporting. The assessment recommends the Support of the establishment of a comprehensive Management Information System (MIS), invest in capacity building on social protection policy frameworks, facilitate training on cash transfer program implementation, ensure the presence of at least one nutrition officer at each healthcare facility, and strengthen the capacity of Community Health Volunteers. (CHV’s)

Organizational Capacities: The assessment revealed the inadequacy of clearly defined strategies for certain organizational structures. To address this, it is recommended to Provide
comprehensive support to foster coordination and integration of cash transfer programs, leverage the existing capacity within the NDMA and the county government’s health department, develop and implement a monitoring and evaluation framework for the CSG and its working groups, and mobilize resources and allocate budget to enhance coordination structures.

Community Capacities: Accessibility issues for eligible beneficiaries were identified as a challenge. To address this, it is recommended to establish effective community entry processes, create avenues for community engagement and participation, leverage existing community structures for sensitization, and address security concerns.