Does the Hunger Safety Net Programme Reduce Multidimensional Poverty? Evidence from Kenya

Thepurpose of this research is to evaluate the short-term impact and long-termsustainability of Kenya’s Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP).Difference-in-difference and propensity score matching estimations are used todetermine the impact of programme participation on the household multidimen­sionalpoverty index (MPI). We found that programme participation reduced the MPIsignificantly, which is mainly driven by the food insecurity dimension, andthat the reduction in poverty is due to the reduction in the incidence andintensity, the latter in particular, of poverty among the ultra-poorhouseholds. Our analysis of the political economy of Kenya suggests that, whilethe government is making progress in the institutionalisation of socialprotection, weaknesses in the implementation and financing of the programme, aswell as the short-term focus of impact evaluation, may undermine theprogramme’s poten­tial to help build a strong state that is accountable for theeradication of poverty.