On 22nd July 2015, HSNP/NDMA hosted thirty Members of the County Assembly from Mandera County for a technical discussions meeting. This is following a request by the MCAs to meet with NDMA. Mandera County is interested in implementing social protection cash transfers. The County has allocated Kshs. 100million for this financial year 2005/6 under the Special Programmes docket. In the meeting, detailed information of what the operations of HSNP entails, challenges and lessons learnt was shared. This enhanced their understanding of what implementing social protection cash transfer entailed to also guide in the development of Mandera’s Social Assistance strategy. At the moment, Mandera County is working on their Social Assistant Bill that will provide the framework in which the funding will be used. It was agreed that in the spirit of peer learning and emulating best practices, the Mandera MCA’s borrow from Turkana County who have already developed a Social Assistant Bill.
Mandera County Assembly unanimously agreed that HSNP has a significant impact on the livelihoods of extremely poor and vulnerable households in Mandera. This is following the presentation of testimonials from beneficiaries from Mandera and the other three Counties. The MCAs confirmed that HSNP has had a bigger impact on the lives of the beneficiaries than the billions of shillings apportioned to Mandera by the Central Government since the start of devolution. The leaders agreed that the benefits of cash transfers far out way those of food aid.
One of the major concerns was the issue of lack of valid National ID that is hindering the programme from delivering cash to targeted beneficiaries. In Mandera, the number of households that should benefit in Group 1 (regular) is 22,231. However, a total of 4,269 do not have valid National IDs. In addition, the number of Group 2 (85,283 households, potential beneficiaries during emergency scale ups) without valid ID is 13,856. Thus, the total number of households in Mandera for both group 1 and 2 without valid National IDs is 18,125. The MCAs pledged to take up this issue of hastening the issuance of National ID as one of the County Government priority. They plan to take it up with the National Bureau of Registration of Persons (NRB) the responsible body for issues National IDs.
All in all, both the NDMA/HSNP and MCAs from Mandera agreed that this was a productive meeting. The parties felt it was just but a beginning of future fruitful collaborations.