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Towards shock-responsive social protection: lessons from the COVID-19 response in Kenya

8 March 2021 — By Alexandra Doyle

The stringent lockdown measures and global economic slowdown, due to COVID-19, are likely to push more than 2 million people into poverty in Kenya. This study documents the Government of Kenya’s social protection response to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic on vulnerable households and presents an analysis of the factors that enabled and constrained the effectiveness of the response, at the policy and operational levels. We find that the Government of Kenya was able to achieve impressive coverage through various social protection interventions but that a coherent response was undermined by a weak coordination mechanism, poor functionality of the Single Registry and the need to target new populations, not typically covered by routine social protection programmes. Finally, the report provides an assessment of the response in terms of coverage, adequacy, comprehensiveness, timeliness, and gender and social inclusion considerations.