Nairobi, Kenya | THE INDEPENDENT | Kenya and the UN children’s fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday launched a cash transfer and nutrition program to reduce child poverty in arid regions.
Mutahi Kagwe, cabinet secretary in the ministry of health said that the program targets vulnerable families including children under two years, pregnant and breastfeeding women.
“We are aiming to improve the wellbeing of children, from conception up until their second birthday – a period which is crucial for human development,” Kagwe said during a virtual launch in Nairobi.
He said that children with malnutrition are often from families that face a range of economic and health problems, noting that integrated response is important to securing positive behavior change in the long and the short term.
Maniza Zaman, UNICEF Representative to Kenya said the cash transfer programs, with the added components of family and community empowerment on improvement of nutrition, health and well-being of children, are known to be impactful.
Zaman said that UNICEF is excited to lend technical expertise to the program and look forward to results at the individual child and community level.
“Every child in Kenya has the right to grow up healthy and free from violence and poverty,” she said.
The program aims to reach 23,500 families across arid counties of Kitui, Kilifi, Marsabit, Turkana and West Pokot in five years to improve nutrition, protect children and reduce poverty.
It will provide cash top-ups, which are known to effectively alleviate poverty by allowing parents to decide what their children need most, such as food, medicine, or clothes.
The program will also include intensive counseling on nutrition and health through an existing network of community health volunteers.