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Seven NGOs, the Kenyan government, the European Union and the Danish and German governments are working together to implement a ’Safety Nets’ programme targeting Kenya’s millions of informal workers. With rising food insecurity and sexual and gender-based-violence, mounting job losses, poor access to water and sanitation, and a lack of formal safety nets, the Kenyan informal sector has suffered the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Safety Nets programme has revealed that cash transfers which support the most vulnerable people, and are implemented safely, transparently and accountably, have the potential to help vulnerable households stave off starvation, infection and eviction. They can also help reduce the vulnerability of survivors and those at risk of sexual and gender-based violence. The results of this programme demonstrate that nascent Kenyan ‘social protection’ programmes should be 1) immediately extended and expanded to the many vulnerable Kenyans currently not enrolled in any social protection programme; and 2) strengthened long-term to make them more effective, sustainable and accountable.

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