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Review of Food for Peace Market-Based Emergency Food Assistance Programs: Kenya Case Study Report

January 2018 — By Jeanne Downen, Padraic Finan

Kenya represents a country focused on building resilience through greater partnerships between USAID-Food for Peace (FFP) programs, other USAID-funded programs and local and national government.

DESIGN: FFP MBEP in Kenya is a good example of connecting emergency and development programming and of government participation at national and county levels. It shows adaptations to varied conditions and the use of a range of modalities in response to recurrent drought and the influx of refugees due to regional conflict and drought. FFP implementing partners (IPs) are successfully reaching vulnerable Kenyan communities through a productive safety net and resilience-building asset creation program that use multiple modalities to respond to the specific and dynamic local contexts within Kenya. Use of food and cash assistance for assets activities are a critical base for larger resilience building partnerships between USAID programs and the government of Kenya. Within refugee camps FFP in-kind food assistance is complemented by cash provided by other donors.

IMPLEMENTATION: Market-based modalities are better supported along Kenya’s main transportation corridors, where infrastructure and markets are more stable. Increased investment in banking infrastructure and mobile networks has resulted in a cash delivery mechanism through mobile money that can reach more remote areas of Kenya. Targeted emergency food distribution and Food for Assets activities (FFA) have been considered more appropriate in the more remote arid regions in Northern Kenya, though some northern counties are shifting to cash assistance. A community-based targeting system coupled with a nationwide single registry system of beneficiaries allows FFP–supported programs to reach the most vulnerable households. Within refugee camps FFP provides U.S.-sourced Title II in-kind food assistance. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is FFP’s main implementing partner in Kenya.

FOOD-SECURITY: The asset creation aspect of the project, along with the earned income, is credited by beneficiaries with improving food security and enabling them to use the cash in ways that would best support their livelihood, which in turn helps to improve food security. Most focus group participants expressed a preference for cash over food, stating that CFA helps to reduce food insecurity. Beneficiaries raised issues about rapidity of payments and timeliness of drought responses, a result of WFP’s funding fluidity for cash transfer programs in Kenya. Drought has also limited asset creation benefits and increased food insecurity in intervention areas.

DEVELOPMENT ISSUES: FFP is instrumental to long term development goals in Kenya and is the largest donor towards resilience building programs that aim to gradually shift from short-term humanitarian aid to long-term livelihood resilience. Financial inclusion and greater female empowerment are some of the development impacts at the household level. FGDs with female beneficiaries of CFA activities reported that they have seen greater decision-making power over the income that they bring into the household. This includes being able to save, invest in business opportunities and freedom at the market. Over 23 million Kenyans now have some form of banking services and financial inclusion has been a core objective of WFP including the expansion of banking infrastructure to more remote regions of Kenya. WFP’s continual evaluation and modification of cash delivery mechanism and the increasing spread of mobile coverage throughout Kenya has resulted in greater use of mobile money