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

OPHI Working Papers

The purpose of this research is to evaluate the short-term impact and long-term sustainability of Kenya’s Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP). Difference-in-difference and propensity score matching estimations are used to determine the impact of programme participation on the household multidimen­sional poverty index (MPI). We found that programme participation reduced the MPI significantly, which is mainly driven by the food insecurity dimension, and that the reduction in poverty is due to the reduction in the incidence and intensity, the latter in particular, of poverty among the ultra-poor households. Our analysis of the political economy of Kenya suggests that, while the government is making progress in the institutionalisation of social protection, weaknesses in the implementation and financing of the programme, as well as the short-term focus of impact evaluation, may undermine the programme’s poten­tial to help build a strong state that is accountable for the eradication of poverty.

Citation: Song, S. and Imai, K.S. (2018). ‘Does the Hunger Safety Net Programme reduce multidimensional poverty? Evidence from Kenya’, OPHI Working Paper 124, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford.

Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP), poverty, Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), food security, Kenya.
Sub-Saharan Africa


Sophie Song and Katsushi S. Imai

Series Name
OPHI Working Papers
Publication date
JEL Codes
C23, I31, I32, I38, O22
Publication Number
WP 124