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Brace for impact: the Baseline Survey Report of Kenya’s universal pension


Safe payments are being made during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 (Photo by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection)

In September 2020, the Baseline Survey Report of Kenya’s Inua Jamii 70 Years and Above Cash Transfer Programme was published, to which Development Pathways (DP) provided research design and analysis support.

The report was undertaken through a partnership between the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Help Age International Kenya and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). The purpose of the baseline study is to describe the status of people aged 70 years old or over in Kenya prior to the start of the universal social pension, which was announced in March 2017. The baseline study will serve as the basis for assessing the potential impact of the pension scheme on older men and women and their households.

The pension represents the first scheme to be provided universally and at an individual level in Kenya, as all others are targeted at the poorest households. It is also the largest cash transfer in the country in terms of budget and coverage, currently estimated to reach just over 833,000 older people in Kenya. Under the social pension, all Kenyans aged 70 years and above, who are not in receipt of a civil service or other contributory pension, receive KSh 2,000 monthly (just under US$20), which is paid bi-monthly into a bank account.

In addition to contributing to this newly released baseline study, Development Pathways is also conducting a multi-year qualitative research study in the community of Lolkeringet, in Nandi County, Kenya. Through a cultural immersion approach, our researchers are analysing how the pension impacts on the lives of older persons, their families, and their community. The analysis focuses especially on older persons’ subjective notions of wellbeing, self-worth and autonomy. A first part of the study’s findings was published in September 2019, which presents findings from the first two visits, and an end line study will be conducted in 2020/2021.

Development Pathways has long been engaged in providing global evidence around the beneficial impact for both recipients and their households. For example, evidence from a situational analysis study and a quantitative impact analysis in Uganda has further highlighted the transformational potential of the Senior Citizens Grant on old-age poverty.

Finally, as previously described by a recipient of the pension from our qualitative research findings, Before I had no source of income other than what my daughters gave me, so they made the decisions mostly. But now that I have the pension, I can call it my own money and I’m really happy.” Indeed, as highlighted in the baseline report, social pensions are a great mechanism to positively affect the income and consumption patterns of pension recipients’ households. Amongst other positive outcomes, the ability of a pension recipient to cover her/his basic needs may allow the family to shift some household funds to other needs. Moreover, instead of becoming dependent on the support of others, a pension can enable an older person to be a contributor to the family income.

Read more like this:

Publication: The State of Older Persons in Uganda – Situational analysis report

Blog: Africa’s rapidly ageing population is in need of social protection, yet it continues to be largely overlooked

News: Digital Transformation in the age of COVID-19 

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