Article 43 of the Constitution of Kenya guarantees all Kenyans economic, social, and cultural rights. It binds the State to provide appropriate social security to persons who are unable to support themselves and their dependents.
Notably, the eradication of extreme poverty is no longer seen as a development issue only but a human rights issue as well. There is now broad consensus among policymakers that social protection is a powerful strategy to fight poverty and promote inclusive growth.
Social protection encompasses a range of policies and programs implemented by governments and other organizations to support individuals and communities in meeting their basic needs, protecting them from risks, vulnerabilities and promoting their well-being. It is designed to ensure that people have access to essential services, resources and social security throughout their lives. According to the 2019 National Population Census, approximately 2.2% of the population in Kenya (equivalent to 0.9 million individuals) live with some form of disability. The prevalence of disability is higher in rural areas compared to urban areas, with 2.6% (0.7 million) of people living in rural areas and 1.4% (0.2 million) residing in urban areas reporting a disability.
Homa Bay County has a significant disability prevalence rate of 14%. To tackle the challenges encountered by Persons With Disabilities (PWDs), the County Government has taken proactive steps through its Department of Gender, Youth, Sports, Talent Development, Culture, and Social Services to improve their living standards. A central component of these efforts is introducing a comprehensive Social Protection Program designed to empower and support PWDs. Through this program, the County has distributed assistive devices such as wheelchairs and crutches to enhance their mobility. Additionally, PWDs in the County have received equipment and various tools of trade to strengthen their businesses, thereby promoting self-sufficiency and reducing dependency levels. The Social Protection Program has supported 80 people, with two beneficiaries chosen from each of the 40 wards.
Implementation of the practice
During the 2022/23 financial year, the County Government of Homa Bay allocated Ksh 3.2 million towards funding the Social Protection Program. This allocation would go towards purchasing various tools of trade including sewing machines, salon and barber equipment to support PWDs in establishing small businesses and enhancing their mobility with assistive devices. In a partnership with SDA Lake Victoria Field Church, the County Government received a donation of 120 tricycles, priced at Ksh 43,000 each and valued at Ksh 5,160,000 in total, to support the advancement of the Social Protection Initiative.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH), the County has identified individuals with severe disabilities, particularly those with visible disabilities and provided equipment to 80 out of the total registered population of 1,400 PWDs. Out of the Ksh 3.2 million allocation, the County has procured additional equipment, which includes 30 tricycles,50 wheelchairs and laptops. These resources have played a vital role in supporting individuals with computer skills to establish cybercafes as part of their entrepreneurial ventures.
To ensure proper utilization of the donated equipment and prevent PWDs from selling the donated items, the County through the Department of Gender, Youth, Sports, Talent Development, Culture, and Social Services, conducts regular field visits for monitoring purposes. The County has implemented continuous sensitization efforts to mitigate the stigma associated with disability and encourage mass registration. These efforts aim to raise awareness, educate the public and promote inclusivity.
For sustainability, the County is in the process of formulating a policy paper focused on social protection, aimed at ensuring the continued support and well-being of the targeted population.
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