Kenya Hunger Safety Net Programme – Oxford Policy Management Blowing Taxpayer Money

I kid you not, this is what the stated goal of the above program was

“The HSNP is intended to reduce dependency on emergency food aid by sustainably strengthening livelihoods through cash transfers.”

The goal of this programme is to give people money on a constant ongoing basis. The programme is designed to give money to people because they live in areas especially susceptible to drought

“The Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) is a social protection project being conducted in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) of northern Kenya. The pilot phase has now concluded and the HSNP is beginning to scale up under Phase 2. The ASALs are extremely food-insecure areas highly prone to drought, which have experienced recurrent food crises and food aid responses for decades.”

And this is how Oxford Policy Management measured the effectiveness of the program

“After two years of the programme, an OPM evaluation found that households receiving the HSNP cash payments are 10 percentage points less likely to fall into the bottom national poverty decile than the control households.”

So they have found that if they give money to people they are less poor. Bravo. Tens of thousands of Euros of taxpayer money down the drain to find out the obvious.

The real question has to be this.

Why is the stated aims of the Kenya Hunger Safety Net Programme to make people dependent on aid in the form of cash transfers?

Why is the aim of the programme not to make the people in these areas grow crops which are more resistant to drought?

I can speculate as to one possible reason.

There is no guarantee that Oxford Policy Management will come up with any crop that is better than what the people there are already growing. In short a goal like this would make any failures in the Kenya Hunger Safety New Programme obvious whereas if they simply give money to a group of people it is almost impossible not to make them richer. Could it be possible that Oxford Policy Management have come up with a set of goals that are almost impossible not achieve?

And this is before you get into the unintended consequences of a program like this.

It involves giving money to people who live in areas which are hostile to life, the goal being to make the people there dependent on cash aid instead of food aid.

Would it not be more intelligent to say that if we give cash to people in these areas we are giving them a reason to stay in these areas rather than finding somewhere where life is easier.

Would it not be more intelligent to say it is a bad idea to give money to people in hostile areas because if the money were to suddenly run out hundreds if not thousands of people are going to be left in a dire situation.

Would it not be more intelligent for these people to become self-sufficient and not dependent on aid.

Would it not be more intelligent to ask if the reason people live in these areas in the first place is because they were getting food aid to live there.

Would it not be more intelligent to ask if it would be better to not get involved, to not distort the economic reality of these people. How can these people make intelligent decisions about their economic future when their economic reality is being massively distorted by people who do not live in the area.

One has to wonder who would bother to fund such a pointless and probably dangerous program as this.


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