Background: The 'Cash Transfer to Orphans and Vulnerable Children' (CT-OVC) in Kenya is a government-supported program intended to provide regular and predictable cash transfers (CT) to poor households taking care of OVC. CT programs can be an effective means of alleviating poverty and facilitating the attainment of an adequate standard of living for people's health and well-being and other international human rights. The objective of this analysis was to compare the household socioeconomic status, school enrolment, nutritional status, and future outlook of orphaned and separated children receiving the CT compared to those not receiving a CT.
Methods: This project analyzes baseline data from a cohort of orphaned and separated children aged <19 years and non-orphaned children living in 300 randomly selected households (HH) in 8 Locations of Uasin Gishu County, Kenya. Baseline data were analyzed using multivariable logistic and Poisson regression comparing children in CT-HH vs. non-CT HH. Odds ratios are adjusted (AOR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for guardian age and sex, child age and sex, and intra-HH correlation.
Results: Included in this analysis were data from 1481 children and adolescents in 300 HH (503 participants in CT, 978 in non-CT households). Overall there were 922 (62.3%) single orphans, 324 (21.9%) double orphans, and 210 (14.2%) participants had both parents alive and were living with them. Participants in CT-HH were less likely to have ≥2 pairs of clothes compared to non-CT HH (AOR: 0.32, 95% CI: 0.16-0.63). Those in CT HH were less likely to have missed any days of school in the preceding month (AOR: 0.62, 95% CI: 0.42-0.94) and those aged <1-18 years in CT-HH were less likely to have height stunting for their age (AOR: 0.65, 95% CI: 0.47-0.89). Participants aged at least 10 years in CT-HH were more likely to have a positive future outlook (AOR: 1.72, 95% CI: 1.12-2.65).
Conclusions: Children and adolescents in households receiving the CT-OVC appear to have better nutritional status, school attendance, and optimism about the future, compared to those in households not receiving the CT, in spite of some evidence of continued material deprivation. Consideration should be given to expanding the program further.