Social Protection Bill 2024: Enhancing Kenyans’ Rights and Welfare

The Social Protection Bill 2024, recently approved by the Cabinet and tabled by Cabinet Secretary Florence Bore, aims to fortify the protection of Kenyan citizens’ rights to essential services, including basic education, nutrition, food security, healthcare, and employment. The comprehensive bill addresses existing gaps in social protection, targeting fragmented legislation, lack of coordination, and insufficient funding. This initiative aligns with the government’s commitment to combating poverty and promoting inclusive growth.

Key Provisions

1. Entitlements and Eligibility Criteria

The bill outlines clear entitlements to social protection, defining eligibility criteria for beneficiaries. It establishes a framework to ensure that Kenyans have access to fundamental services and rights.

2. Rights and Obligations

The legislation delineates the rights and obligations of beneficiaries, providing a transparent framework for the responsibilities of both citizens and the government. This clarity aims to foster accountability and efficient delivery of social protection programs.

3. Social Assistance and Health Protection

The bill introduces provisions for social assistance, including cash transfer programs for vulnerable populations such as orphans, older persons, and individuals with severe disabilities. It also incorporates elements of social health protection to enhance access to healthcare services.

4. Income Security and Labour Market Practices

To address economic vulnerabilities, the bill introduces measures for income security. It promotes fair labour market practices, ensuring that workers’ rights are protected and that they have access to dignified employment.

5. Social Assistance Fund and National Board for Social Protection

The establishment of a Social Assistance Fund and the National Board for Social Protection is a pivotal component of the bill. These entities will be responsible for managing funds, coordinating social protection efforts, and ensuring the effective implementation of programs.

6. County Governments and Civic Education

Recognizing the importance of local governance, the bill outlines provisions for county governments to actively participate in the implementation of social protection programs. It also emphasizes civic education to raise awareness about citizens’ entitlements and obligations.

7. Shock-Responsive Social Protection

Acknowledging the impact of unforeseen shocks on vulnerable populations, the bill introduces legislation for shock-responsive social protection. This proactive approach aims to mitigate the effects of emergencies on individuals and communities.

8. Inclusion of Informal Employment

The legislation recognizes the diverse nature of employment in Kenya, aiming to extend social protection to individuals working outside formal employment. This inclusive approach addresses the needs of those engaged in various forms of informal work.

Expected Impact

The Social Protection Bill 2024 is anticipated to be a milestone in enhancing the capacity and opportunities for the poor and vulnerable in Kenya. By providing a legal framework for social protection, the government aims to improve and sustain the livelihoods and welfare of its citizens. This initiative reflects the government’s commitment to the gradual realization of economic and social rights for all Kenyan citizens.

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