• APSP Staff and other participants complete an EPRI course on Social Protection
  • Field Visit during a training session on Social Protection in Mombasa, Kenya
  • Cash transfer programme for persons with disabilities in Maputo, Mozambique
  • Multigenerational faces of vulnerability
  • Older persons are among the vulnerable groups in Africa
  • Participants of the Western Africa Peer Learning and Exchange Workshop in Dakar, Senegal
  • Cash transfer programme in Ghana
  • Plenary Session during the Eastern and Central Africa Peer Learning and Exchange Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya
  • Field Visit during the Southern Africa Peer Learning and Exchange Workshop in Lilongwe, Malawi
  • Beneficiaries of Social Protection programmes show off entrepreneurial projects they have started since programmes commenced
  • Social Protection Programmes also look at children as a vulnerable group



An African continent free from poverty and vulnerability.

Mission Statement

To create partnerships with Civil Society and other organizations to engage with the Governments and International Development Agencies (IDAs) to develop and implement innovative Social Protection strategies and pro­grammes that make a difference in people’s lives in Africa.

Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP) is undertaking a research on the management (collection, storage, usage and dissemination) of the privacy of personal information in the Older Persons Cash Transfer (OPCT) programme in Kenya. A lot of information is being collected in the implementation of these programmes. However, there is limited knowledge on how information collected is handled. A number of countries across the continent have put in place human rights, media and information laws which up to now have not been adequately applied including in the area of Social Protection. Indeed, there are issues regarding the implementation of these laws with regard to general management and protection of personal information.

Given the increasing popularity of Social Protection programmes among African countries, governments are embracing policies and programmes that protect more vulnerable segments of the population. With limited resources, programmes employ targeting mechanisms which obtain significant amounts of information from beneficiaries of Social Protection programmes as well as those who do not meet the criteria.

The Older Persons Cash Transfer (OPCT) Programme

The OPCT is one of the five cash transfer programmes being implemented by the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Services. The Programme provides monthly cash remittances to households of eligible older persons in the country.   It started off as a pilot programme in 2006.

The Government of Kenya has gone ahead and rolled out the programme from an initial three (3) pilot districts to forty four (44) districts in 2010 covering 33,000 households and by 2012, in all 210 constituencies covering 59,000 households.

The budget allocation for 2011/2012 financial year doubled from about Kshs. 570 million to Kshs. 1 billion and increased the number of households covered as well as the transfer amount. The trend of increased budgetary allocation and coverage continued as the 2012/2013 budgetary allocation increased to Kshs. 1.5 Billion and for the 2013/2014 budgetary allocation for the OPCT programme alone was Kshs. 3.2 billion  which will bringing the households under coverage to about 106,000.

These numbers may look small against national populations but the implication of coming up with these numbers is substantial amounts of raw data (personal information) about vulnerable populations. To determine eligibility and enrolment into the OPCT, various sets of information is collected. These include information on age, marital status, gender and educational background. Other information collected relates to household composition and size, the burden of care, and proxy indicators related to nutritional status, water and waste management, living quarters and energy consumption. In context, the information provided once submitted to implementing agencies, individuals have to contend with rigorous screening and analysis to qualify or otherwise, to the programme.

In this respect, the research aims at outlaying the general practice and principles in Social Protection delivery mechanisms in order to generate information that can support the management of personal information specifically in the OPCT programme.

This becomes even more pertinent as the Kenyan government, in collaboration with development partners, roll out a National Safety Net Programme which will bring together the five (5) cash transfer programmes under a single Management Information System (MIS).


Eligibility into cash transfer programmes require substantial amounts of personal information to be gathered from potential beneficiaries for purposes of identifying and reaching the poorest and the vulnerable. However, little is known about how the information gathered is collected, stored, accessed and used. Unfortunately this opens up the possibilities of abuse and misuse of the information gathered and may violate the rights of beneficiaries. There is therefore, a need to interrogate the adequacy of systems, policies and legislation to protect the rights of beneficiaries with regards to privacy of personal information.

Scope and Limitation of the Study

One of the challenges envisioned during the study is that the area under study is relatively new and might not be fully understood by those running Social protection programmes. If this understanding does not exist, access to respondents and data may be a challenge. The APSP will work with the relevant government department from the onset and endeavour to collaborate with government personnel involved in the running of the social protection programme to overcome this challenge.

The APSP will also work with the Social Protection Actors’ Forum (SPAF) which will be co-opted into the study as a source of secondary data specifically to fill in gaps where they might occur.


The project will seek to find out how personal information in relation to beneficiaries in OPCT programme is collected, stored, accessed and used. The findings will be used to inform the development of policies that safe guard privacy rights of individuals.

Specific Objectives

a)   To identify the types of beneficiary information collected in Social Protection programmes

b)   To examine how Social Protection beneficiary information is stored, accessed and used.

c)   To use the information gathered to advocate the strengthening of, and/or, inform the development of new policies at country, regional and international.

d)   To generate information that would support the creation of awareness on issues of the right to the protection of personal information

Research questions

The research will be guided by the following research questions:

1.   What types of beneficiary information are collected in social protection programmes?

2.   What policies and legislation are in place in Kenya and to what extent they are applied if they exist?

3.   Are beneficiaries aware of their rights in relation to the protection of personal information?

4.   How is the information stored?

5.   How is it accessed?


The research aims at outlaying the general practice in Social protection delivery in order to generate information that will support policy makers and those implementing Social Protection programme on the management of personal information personal information. This will in turn support policy makers and those implementing Social Protection programmes to incorporate protection of privacy of information in the design and implementation of programmes.  

This research will be important in guiding the development of policies in relation to the management of information collected in Social Protection programmes. The hope is that the findings of the research will be of use in Kenya and indeed, in all the other countries across Africa.  As such, they will be disseminated to all 54 member states of the African Union (AU) through the various commissions and summits of the organization. Furthermore, the findings will be shared with the other developing regions of Asia and Latin America, through the various United Nations channels.


The study will be carried out on the Older Persons Cash Transfer Programme in Nairobi, Kiambu and Machakos. The site has been chosen because the OPCT programme has no peculiarities and therefore the site was purposively selected. This is due to its proximity to Nairobi and will therefore reduce the costs related to transport.  

The study will be qualitative in nature and will employ purposive sampling in selection of respondents to be interviewed   Data will be collected through a review of relevant literature, policies and other pieces of legislation related to human rights and social protection to ascertain the level of inclusion of privacy rights.

In addition, key informant interviews will be carried out with persons involved in designing and implementing Social Protection programmes, government officials, civil society organizations and human rights practitioners. The process will be triangulated with information from beneficiaries which will be recorded as case studies.

The sample for those to be included in the interviews will be drawn purposively, given that these will be individuals selected on the basis of their role in the implementation of social protection and human rights programmes.

Beneficiaries will be selected using the random sampling technique using the register of beneficiaries at the OPCT Secretariat as the sample frame. This will take into consideration the need to represent gender and other marginalised groups.

Since the study will be primarily qualitative, themes will be developed in accordance with the objectives of the study, research questions and expected outcomes. Data will then be grouped according to these themes, as a first step for subsequent analysis and interpretation.

Information gathered from the project will be used to support the proper management of information to transform societal perceptions that perpetuate and entrench marginalization, discrimination and stigmatization of vulnerable groups particularly women.


The research envisions the following outcomes:

     Improvement in the management of information related to beneficiaries of social protection programmes

     An increase in the level of understanding  of the rights associated with individual privacy rights in relation to social protection

     Increase in buy-in and recognition of privacy rights of individuals by governments.

     Support policy development and the implementation of programmes which take into consideration privacy of personal information.

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