Cash Transfer and the Economic Well-Being of Persons with Severe Disability in Wajir County, Kenya
Abdille, Issa Kurash
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Social interventions such as cash transfers provide the much needed support to vulnerable people. People living with disabilities continue to remain economically deprived, experiencing high levels of poverty. In Wajir County, this crisis is more exacerbated by the nomadic setting where disabled persons are left behind as other individuals move. They are left to cater for themselves due to their mobility constraints. The welfare of these people continue to deteriorate since they are unable to work and highly depend on others and hence do not have the capacity of self-sufficiency. These people remain dependent on the government and non-governmental agencies. The effect of cash transfer programs however, is not fully known. This study sought to assess the effect of cash transfer on the economic well-being of people with severe disabilities in Wajir County. The study is founded on the Maslow’s theory of needs, the sustainable livelihoods framework and the rights-based approach. The study employed mixed methods research design and targeted all family heads for all the 183 under the Persons with Severe Disabilities Cash Transfer in Wajir North and Tarbaj sub-Counties as at 2015 and 19 senior officials working with the sub-counties’ social development offices. The study used primary data obtained through semi-structured questionnaires and interview guides. Data analysis methods that be employed involved quantitative and qualitative approaches. The qualitative data was analysed using content analysis where the information obtained was reported in a narrative form and direct quotes. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistical methods. Quantitative data analysis was facilitated by the Statistical Package for Social Sciences Version 20. Descriptive statistics such as the rate of response, frequency distribution, mean and standard deviation were used. Inferential statistics generated included correlation and regression analysis. The study findings showed that cash transfer supported household income, healthcare access, investment in productive activities and empowerment had positive and significant effect on the economic wellbeing of persons living with disabilities in Wajir County. The study concluded that if the cash transfer programme was to achieve its objectives and transform the economic wellbeing of the beneficiary households, the aforementioned support areas needed to be adequately embedded in the programme’s plan. The study made several recommendations among them that the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Services Programmes should consider increasing the monthly disbursements given to persons living with disabilities so that they can venture in to activities that would give them supplementary incomes. There can be other activities within the programme meant to support the beneficiaries to be self-reliant so that they do not have to rely on the transfers throughout. The study also recommends that the officials overseeing the cash transfer programme for persons living with disabilities should have follow up programs especially for beneficiaries who have ventured in to productive activities so that they can support them to expand their income generation activities. The programme can partner with other development partners such as donors and NGOs and also the county government to create a fund where beneficiaries can get more assistance both financial and non-financial in order to expand their activities. The study further recommends that the programme should provide networking programs were beneficiary households can interact with various organizations so as to secure livelihood opportunities such as employment among others.