NAIROBI, Kenya June 21 – A cash transfer programme dubbed Universal Child Benefits (UCB) is currently being implemented with the aim of cushioning children from poor households.
Over 8,300 children are currently benefitting from the cash transfer program which is on a pilot phase in Kajiado, Embu and Kisumu counties.
UCB which is on its third cycle of payment ensures that beneficiaries who are children less than 3 years receive Sh 800 monthly stipend
Children Service Assistant Director Peter Ombasa noted that poverty levels adversely affect the optimal growth of children which potentially affect their productivity.
“Most of our communities and by and large children are living in low income areas and easily affected by financial setbacks and consequences,” said Ombasa.
The program coordinated by State Deparment for Social Protection is being funded by Save the Children and UNICEF which aims at ensuring that children from adverse poverty situations are cushioned.
During a media workshop , Ombasa stated that majority of effects exacerbated by high poverty levels are irreversible and they eventually cost a society.
“We realized that nutrition is everything, if you stunt before 1000 thousands days you die. This program support nutritional health ,”he said.
The scheme which commenced in early 2021 at the end would be evaluated to assess the benefits to children and its impact on the local economy.
According to statistics, at least 42 per cent of under 18 are monetary poor, while 52.5 per cent are multi-dimensionally poor.
Ombasa noted that every child had a constitutional right to social protection noting that the program aims at ensuring that the nation invests in the future generation as its boosts the country’s human capital development.
Child poverty distorts children’s physical, cognitive and social development. Poverty can also set children on a lifelong trajectory of low education levels and reduced productivity, and undermine their physical and mental health.
Children living in poverty are more likely to become impoverished adults and have poor children, thereby creating and sustaining inter-generational cycles of poverty.