Equity has begun to disburse cash transfers to vulnerable households in Wajir, Marsabit, Mandera and Turkana Counties in the third phase of the Hunger Safety Net Program (HSNP).

The Government of Kenya through the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) handed over a cheque of Ksh. 558 million to Equity for disbursement to vulnerable families in the listed arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL).

In an event chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and the ASALs Hon. Eugene Wamalwa, members of parliament from Isiolo and Samburu Counties were taken through the HSNP program. This is as the Government brings on four more counties into the HSNP program which began in 2009.

Isiolo, Samburu, Tana River and Garissa Counties will join Wajir, Marsabit, Mandera and Turkana Counties in phase 3 of the program.
Speaking while handing over the cheque, CS Wamalwa said, “Through partners like Equity, we are enhancing efficiency and this HSNP money will reach these vulnerable families with immediate effect to cushion them against the effects of drought.”

The CS added that the Government had expanded HSNP to 4 more counties in response to the needs of households in ASAL areas. “While HSNP began as a purely donor funded program in Phase 1, the Government funded 65% in Phase 2 and we are happy to announce that the initiative is now fully funded by Government,” he said.

The first phase of HSNP targeted 68,621 households in the four counties between 2009 and 2013. Phase 2 targeted 101,800 vulnerable households for regular payments and 273,006 households for emergency payments.

Phase 3 will cater for an additional 200,000 households in the four initial counties while targeting 32,000 households for regular payments and 200,000 for emergency payments in the four additional ASAL counties. Each household will receive Ksh. 5,400 every two months in the HSNP regular cash transfers.

Receiving the cheque on behalf of Equity, General Manager Special Projects Saralyn Wairimu said, “This program is a demonstration of our commitment to inclusivity and democratization of access to financial services. We have 17 branches and 1,008 Equity agents in the eight HSNP target counties that are focused on serving the beneficiaries within the COVID-19 safety protocols. Cash transfers, as opposed to in-kind support, enables beneficiaries allocate the stipend to their most pressing needs.”

The HSNP is one of four cash transfer programs under the National Safety Net Program (NSNP) collectively called Inua Jamii. The other three are Older Persons Cash Transfer, Cash Transfers for Orphans and Vulnerable Children and Persons with Severe Disability Cash Transfer.

Equity Bank is the Payment Service Provider for the above programs currently serving 450,000 beneficiaries across the 47 counties in Kenya. Beneficiaries receive Ksh. 4,000 every two months in the HSNP regular cash transfers.