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Accepted Paper:

The potential for complementarity between formal and informal social protection systems in Kenya.  
Phoene Oware (University of the Western Cape)

Paper short abstract:

This paper highlights findings from a study which investigated the potential for complementarity between formal and informal social protection systems in Kenya.

Paper long abstract:

Expanding social protection coverage is imperative in low-resource contexts such as Kenya. Alongside efforts to increase state capacity, alternative strategies for the expansion of social protection need to be explored. To this end, the potential of linking formal and informal social protection systems has been highlighted. Yet, research exploring this possibility is limited. Using a qualitative research design, this paper examines the ways that Kenya’s recently introduced universal old age grant interfaces with informal social protection systems.

Four distinct interfaces between the grant and informal social protection systems of the elderly were identified, namely: Complementarity, this was achieved through the grant providing resources for participation in informal networks, supplementing beneficiaries' inadequate informal protection, reducing dependency on informal networks, and restoring kinship relations; Substitution, informal systems substituted and mitigated the grant's unpredictable and erratic payments; Competition, the grant engendered tensions and conflicts that could weaken informal networks. Informal networks played an auxiliary role to the grant’s implementation which facilitated information dissemination, registration of beneficiaries and their access to collection sites.

Findings affirm the value of cash transfer programs which even though inadequate, improve access to informal social protection systems, resulting in better wellbeing outcomes. High-quality, adequate, and universal social protection programs are essential to complement enhance these outcomes. Systematic engagement with informal social protection systems is necessary to strengthen inefficient grant administration, expand access to basic services through informal networks, and to mitigate negative effects such as resource conflicts.

Panel P52
Towards rethinking and decolonizing Africa's development futures: the place of indigenous knowledge
  Session 1 Thursday 29 June, 2023, -