Influence of cash transfer programmes on socio-economic wellbeing of beneficiary households in Bungoma County, Kenya
Conditional cash transfers are increasingly being promoted as the best practice in the social sector for developing countries. In Kenya, Orphans and Vulnerable Children Cash Transfer was introduced as the first cash transfer programme on pilot basis in 2004 in response to the impacts of Human Immuno Virus and Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome on children in the country. After 2004, the government of Kenya expanded the coverage of the Orphans and Vulnerable Children Cash Transfer, and started cash transfer programmes for other vulnerable groups, yet there were no extensive empirical studies carried out to determine the influence of the programme on socio-economic wellbeing of the households. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of cash transfer programme on the socio-economic wellbeing of beneficiary households in Bungoma County of Kenya. The objectives of the study were to establish how caregivers registered on Orphans and Vulnerable Children Cash Transfer in Bungoma County use the money transferred to households, determine the influence of Orphans and Vulnerable Children Cash Transfer programme on the social wellbeing of beneficiary households and assess influence of the Orphans and Vulnerable Children Cash Transfer programme on economic wellbeing of the beneficiary households. The study also sought to establish measures that needed to be implemented to enhance contribution of the Orphans and Vulnerable Children Cash Transfer programme on improvement of socio-economic wellbeing of households in Bungoma County. The study was based on Robert Putman’s 1995 theory of Social Capital. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design. The target populations for the study were 250 caregivers registered on the Orphans and Vulnerable Children Cash Transfer programme in 2006. The study involved a sample of 75 caregivers selected through multistage sampling. The data for the study was collected by use of questionnaires, Focus Group Discussions and content analysis, and analyzed using descriptive statistics. The study found that majority of caregivers used the money they received from Orphans and Vulnerable Children Cash Transfer to meet educational needs of the children; the programme had contributed to good relations within the beneficiary households, but had led to emergency of deep jealousy against beneficiary households; and, the programme had positive influence on economic wellbeing of beneficiary households, but had not removed the beneficiary households from extreme poverty. The study recommended that mechanisms be introduced to provide opportunity for children in households to participate in making decision on use of money transferred to households and in evaluation of the programme to enhance safeguards against possible misuse of funds by caregivers; the community to be sensitized on the programme objectives and enrollment criteria to reduce ill feelings against beneficiaries; the amount disbursed to be increased, and the programme be re-designed to include conditions requiring beneficiaries to invest part of the money in economic development; and programme designed to consider household characteristics such as number of children in determining amount of money transferred to beneficiaries households. The study suggested a research to be carried out focusing on children in the beneficiary households to establish their views on aspects focused on in this study.