Government Support for Vulnerable Citizens during COVID-19 Pandemic: Experiences from Kayole

By Sally Kivaya
When the government announced that it would be supporting vulnerable members of the community during the Covid-19 pandemic, John knew that this was going to be a big relief to him. The announcement came around March and he had just lost his job at a local sewerage company. He got this information through a friend who was collecting names of the vulnerable people in Kayole’s Matopeni area. When the cash transfers finally began John was not amongst the lucky ones and he doesn’t understand why.
“Mimi sielewi walitumia formula gani kutumia watu pesa ama kuchagua ni watu wagani wanapata izo pesa,” John lamented.

John standing next to his friends. He did not benefit despite being vulnerable

The cash transfers were part of the government’s 8-point stimulus programme amounting to Sh53.7 billion that was supposed to stimulate economic growth and cushion families during the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike John, Gerald is amongst the few of Kayole residents who received the cash transfer of Sh1000 after every two weeks for a period of two months. Being unemployed at the time, the disbursement would hardly meet all the needs of his family.
According to the Kayole location chief Danvas Mogire, only 300 residents made it to the final list that was submitted to the government for support. To arrive at this number, each of the 13 cluster heads in Kayole had to propose 20 people to benefit from the cash transfers. Mogire would then allocate the remaining slots to places of worship to nominate the most vulnerable people.
The lists submitted comprised of orphans, people living with disability, expectant single mothers and those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

Gerald, a beneficiary of the government cash transfer

However, Chief Mogire adds that not all the cluster heads adhered to the criteria of selecting beneficiaries. He stated that some of the cluster heads picked on their friends and relatives who were neither residents of Kayole nor vulnerable. Due to this, almost half of the cluster heads were suspended and demoted by the Chief while those who
they had unduly proposed were dropped from the list.

Since the beginning of the cash transfers, the Chief has received numerous complaints from various residents, more so teachers from private schools who did not receive the cash transfers. Others complained about lack of information on the programme. Initially, theminformation was disseminated through Nyumba Kumi but only a few people got
wind of the information.

On her part, the Savanah Location Senior Chief Christine Dembah leveraged social media, cluster heads and community health volunteers to pass the information. To this end, 1050 residents received the cash transfers, with each household receiving Sh1000 per week.

Besides the cash transfers, the government also embarked on a plan to create employment for the youth. In Kayole, almost 2000 youths were enrolled into the project, famed Kazi Mtaani. Their main tasks were to unclog the sewerage and drainage systems, slashing, and sweeping among other roles. For this, each of them were to receive Kes5000 after every 11-working-days. However, the payment for the Kazi Mtaani programme has at times been rocked
by delays and or intermittent remittances.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *