Denmark providing DKK 20 million for cash transfers to food-insecure families and SGBV survivors in Mombasa informal settlements

Monday, July 13, 2020



LAST week, The Royal Danish Embassy in Nairobi signed a DKK 20 Million (KES 310 million) grant to provide cash transfers to 40,000 vulnerable Kenyans in Mombasa and Nairobi informal settlements. The cash transfers will be disbursed monthly, for three months, via MPESA to Kenyans who have lost their income sources due to Covid-19 and who are at risk of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

Grant applicants Oxfam in Kenya, The Kenyan Red Cross Society, Concern Worldwide, ACTED, IMPACT, the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW), and the Wangu Kanja Foundation recently began implementing a cash safety net programme targeting residents in Nairobi’s informal settlements. This new initiative includes a significant component aiming to specifically target and reduce the vulnerability of women and girls who are survivors or at-risk of SGBV. Cash transfers will be sent to 10,400 individuals affected by or at risk of SGBV to reduce their vulnerability. 

“During this pandemic many women, men and children are isolated. This, coupled with loss of incomes, has contributed to increased cases of sexual and gender-based violence. Cash transfers cushion survivors from being more vulnerable to continuous abuse.” said Wangu Kanja, founder of the Wangu Kanja Foundation.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, grant co-applicant CREAW has recorded a 64% increase in SGBV cases reported by women and girls to their offices. In March, the Kenyan Government recorded a 33.7% increase in the number of SGBV cases reported to the government hotline. These upsurges tell a grim story of the lesser-known harmful effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially on women and girls - who outnumber men - in the informal sector. 

“Cash Transfers ensure that vulnerable SGBV survivors have food on the table, a roof over their heads and can access the all-important health care services. It dignifies households and cushions them from the harsh economic times while supporting their recovery plans as we all learn to live with the pandemic” said Wangechi Wachira, CREAW Executive Director.

Mat Cousins, Oxfam in Kenya’s Humanitarian Director said “The Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on some of the most vulnerable in our societies. People relying on daily labour in urban informal settlements already marginalised from accessing basic services are especially at risk. Women continue to face unconscionable violence and this has increased since the pandemic. The grant from the Danish Government will extend support to vulnerable households in Mombasa, whilst enabling an increased focus on supporting survivors of sexual-and-gender-based violence”

The ambassador of Denmark to Kenya, Mette Knudsen said “The Danish government takes responsibility for tackling the COVID-19 global challenges, both at home and with our contributions to the efforts of Kenya. Denmark has decided to provide a financial contribution of DKK 20 million (KSH 310 million) for cash transfers to households facing food insecurity in informal settlements in Nairobi and Mombasa. By channelling the contribution through the Oxfam Kenya led consortium cash transfers will reach the neediest including people living with disabilities, women and victims of sexual and gender-based violence. The latter through the programme’s sexual and gender-based violence response service. The contribution is fully in line with the priorities of the Danish government and it is for me personally gratifying that we are able through this to assist the neediest in the informal settlements”

Denis Lewa, Mombasa County Secretary said “The County Government of Mombasa has been supporting vulnerable households since the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, targeting more than 227,000, under the Household Relief and Nutrition Support Program. We are elated by the news of The Royal Danish Embassy’s assistance. This will go a long way in complementing ongoing efforts by the County Government of Mombasa and will help us reach more people, with resources to supplement their unmet needs.”


Notes to Editors:

  1. How the cash transfers work: After being identified and registered by the Kenya Red Cross in coordination with the Government of Kenya, and verified by NGOs Oxfam and Concern Worldwide, vulnerable families will receive cash transfers through MPESA accounts to minimize physical contact and the risk of spreading Covid-19. Of the 10,000 households targeted, 1,300 who are not enrolled in any safety net programme will receive KES 7,142 per month, while 8,700 households who already receive transfers from the Kenya Government’s Inuaa Jamii Programme will receive KES 5,142 per month. The cash safety net amounts have been calculated to ideally cover half of the monthly basic needs of a family of four, and will be revised by consortium partners after regular rounds of market monitoring. 
  2. Background information on project sites: Approximately 82.7% of Kenyans work in the informal sector as small-scale business people and casual or domestic workers. Many of these businesses have shut down, and countless casual and domestic workers have been let go during the Covid-19 pandemic. A food security assessment conducted by this NGO consortium in May showed that 80% of households in the Mukuru and Korogocho informal settlements in Nairobi informal settlements were food insecure – with most unable to afford 80% of their basic needs.
  3. For press inquiries, contact: Levi Mungai Gikandi | Media and Communications Advisor – Kenya Programme | Email: | Mobile +254 740 699 617 | 3rd Floor, The Atrium, Chaka Road, P.O Box 40680-00100 | Nairobi, Kenya | Oxfam Kenya