In Kenya, free cash is the latest solution to poverty
By Nicolas Delaunay
Until recently, Molly struggled to imagine life beyond the end of each repetitive day: work in someone else’s fields and earn enough to eat, rinse, repeat.
“It was a vicious circle I could not escape,” says the 25-year-old villager in the Bondo region of western Kenya.
Her hardscrabble, rural existence is the same for many in Siaya County where people eke out a living farming maize, millet and cotton in the ochre soil.
But that was before the introduction in her village of a cash handout known as “universal basic income“. It’s part of a large, intensive, multi-year study aimed at discovering a new way to end poverty in Africa.
Molly began receiving a no-strings, fixed monthly donation of 2,250 shillings ($22, 19 euros) two years ago, and since then “everything has changed”, she says.
Photo courtesy of Cecilia Schubert.