Robina Kwamboka

The Covid-19 cash transfer Pilot helped Robina Kwamboka buy food and pay rent – more would help her stay home and safe throughout the pandemic | Photo By Asha Jaffar / Oxfam in Kenya

Cash transfers can help 60-year-old mother Robina stay home and safe from Covid-19

Robina Kwamboka is a 60-year-old woman taking care of four children, by herself in the Kibera informal settlement. To earn a living, Robina works as a cabbage saleswoman, on commission from other traders. Since the pandemic struck, the construction workers that used to buy Priscilla’s cabbage no longer have jobs, so she cannot even get the 100 or 200 shillings (.83 - 1.66) Robina used to earn per day.

Now the family of five is forced to survive on nothing or 50 shillings per day in income, says Robina.

To cope with the loss of her income, Kwamboka and her children have tried to borrow food or money from neighbours. Robina finds it difficult to regularly afford soap for her home and most frequently washes at community washing points in her neighbourhood.

Robina Kwamboka | Photo By Asha Jaffar / Oxfam in Kenya

In May, Kwamboka received KES 5,668 from Consortium partners Oxfam in Kenya, The Kenya Red Cross Society, Concern Worldwide, ACTED, IMPACT, CREAW and the Wangu Kanja Foundation. Kwamboka was among the 882 pilot cash transfer recipient households who received a total of KES  4,999,176 in May with the goal of covering 50% of their basic needs

Robina Kwamboka | Photo By Asha Jaffar / Oxfam in Kenya

Kwamboka and her family bought flour and greens and she paid debts she had for food and rent. Robina and her family are still in need of support.

“If I got money, I would stay in the house. Because of my age, I shouldn’t be around a lot of people like they say, we are afraid. But because we have no alternative, we go and even if corona finds you what will you do?” said Kwamboka.

Thanks to a €5 Million (KES 630,491,100) grant funded by the European Union, the successful cash-transfer pilot in which Kwamboka was enrolled has been recently expanded to cover an estimated 80,000 vulnerable Kenyans in Nairobi informal settlements.

Robina Kwamboka | Photo By Asha Jaffar / Oxfam in Kenya

With the help of EU funding, NGOs Oxfam in Kenya, The Kenya Red Cross Society, Concern Worldwide, ACTED, IMPACT, CREAW and the Wangu Kanja Foundation have transferred Ksh KES 91,060,280.00 to date to 11,328 vulnerable families (an estimated 45,312 total people) in Nairobi informal settlements to help them afford basic necessities during the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the course of three months, the NGO consortium aims to transfer 398,748,899.45 Ksh to 17,390 families (an estimated 69,560 people).