NAIROBI, 21 July 2021 – An initiative by the Kenyan government to assist the country’s most vulnerable families with cash as part of COVID-19 relief reached only a few.

“Only a small fraction” of the vulnerable families in the capital, Nairobi, benefited from the funds, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Kenya - Source AFP

Kenya – Source AFP

President Uhuru Kenyatta - Photo China Daily

President Uhuru Kenyatta – Photo China Daily

Families hit the hardest by the economic and financial downturn provoked by COVID-19 were to benefit from the weekly cash transfer initiative according to a plan outlined last year by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Under the plan, an estimated $100 million (10 billion Kenyan shillings) were to be disbursed to the households most in need in the form of weekly survival stipends.

The report by HRW says the program lacked transparency and was marred by cronyism, nepotism and favoritism.

Kenyan Pandemic Relief Did not Reach the Most Vulnerable - Photo HRW

Pandemic Relief Did not Reach the Most Vulnerable – Photo HRW

Vulerable Familes Byapssed in Cash Pandemic Relef - Photo Devex

Vulerable Familes Byapssed in Cash Pandemic Relef – Photo Devex

HRW has called on the Kenyan anti-corruption agency to investigate the project.

Kenyan government officials in charge of implementing the project reportedly side-stepped “stated selection criteria”, showing favoritism and directing relief on what one civil society organization in Nairobi described as a “man know man basis”.

The lack of transparency led to information on the program not even being shared with the most vulnerable families which effectively prevented them from enrolling in the program.

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