With vital donor support, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has launched cash transfers and nutrition support for more than a quarter of a million people struggling to survive from the impact of COVID-19 on informal settlements in Nairobi.
The cash distributions began on Tuesday and complement the Government of Kenya’s social protection programmes.
WFP’s assistance is reaching families who struggled daily to feed themselves even before COVID-19 and have now lost incomes because of the pandemic and restrictions to contain its spread.
Thanks to contributions from the United States, Finland, Poland and Sweden, WFP will assist 279,000 people in Nairobi’s informal settlements with cash transfers and nutrition support for three months. Each family will receive 4,000 Kenyan shillings (US$40) each month—enough to cover half of the total food and nutrition needs for a family of four.
“We are working in close coordination with humanitarian partners and the Government to ensure this assistance reaches the children, women, men and elderly who need it the most as quickly as possible,” said Annalisa Conte, WFP’s Country Director and Representative in Kenya.
“Poor urban families usually live hand-to-mouth and rely on informal day-to-day employment. They have no food reserves so after months of containment measures, including lockdowns in some areas, their ability to cope is being stretched to the limit. They need all our help now.”
Complementing the Ministry of Health’s efforts to reduce acute malnutrition, WFP will also provide vital nutrition support to treat malnutrition among 16,000 children under 5 years, 700 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and 6,800 elderly people in informal urban settlements.
WFP is distributing nutrient-rich ready-to-use therapeutic food for malnourished children and highly fortified flour as porridge to help keep pregnant and breastfeeding mothers healthy. In its responses in Kenya, WFP works closely with the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Ministry of Devolution and the ASALS (Arid and Semi-Arid Lands), the National AIDS and STI Control Programme under the Ministry of Health, the Nairobi Metropolitan Services, and the Communications Authority of Kenya. U.S. contribution of US$10 million is funding the cash transfers, nutrition support and social protection systems in Nairobi, Finland’s US$1.1 million will also support cash transfers and Poland’s contribution of US$117,000 will fund the treatment of malnutrition among affected mothers and children in informal settlements.
With a multi-year grant of US$ 2.5 million from Sweden, WFP continues strengthening the Government’s social protection systems, resilience and capacity to respond to shocks. WFP has seconded technical staff to assist in the design, implementation and monitoring of emergency safety nets and resilience and social protection programmes.