Credits @UNICEF MKCoursin_Kenya_Drought
Published on November 24, 2020

Update: A Progressive Pathway Towards a Universal Social Protection System in Kenya to Accelerate the Achievement of the SDGs

Kenya’s Joint Programme (JP) for Integrated Social Protection aims to support the national government in its move towards universal social protection by way of evidence generation, advocacy and policy, partnerships, and specific plans and financing strategies. It will identify and address critical current gaps in universal health coverage, food security and nutrition, access to affordable housing and manufacturing. The JP will draw from the experience of other sectors that have previously mobilized public-private partnerships and innovative financing, in order to position the Government of Kenya to scale-up initiatives and accelerate its progress towards the SDGs.


Many positive steps have been reported over the first semester. To enhance complementarity within the category of universal social protection, the first engagement and technical review of the proposed linkage between the Enhanced Single Registry and National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) have been conducted. The Washington Group on Disability Statistics provided a training on Disability Disaggregation for the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics officials, so as to assist in the creation of a disability monograph for the Kenya Population and Housing Census. The private sector has been engaged on disability inclusion, while dialogue has been initiated on design options for social security benefits related to occupational health and safety. The Universal Child Benefit (UCB) Feasibility Study has been completed, the costing and weighting of different design options are being analyzed, and the UCB simulation tool has been developed.


The Joint SDG Fund has authorized all JPs to repurpose up to 20% of funding for COVID-related activities. In light of the pandemic in Kenya, a tailored Policy Note for a rapid UCB rollout has been developed. A rapid assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on the informal sector is underway. The JP team has also embraced the advent of telecommuting, and virtual biweekly meetings are being held between PUNOs and Government to review the pandemic and plan for appropriate interventions. Thus, despite the current global context, the JP in Kenya has advanced steadily towards its goal of building a universal social protection system, and thereby accelerating progress towards the SDGs.