Cash-Based Interventions (CBI)

Update on Frequency of Payments

Kakuma

  • Bi-monthly basis (every two months) cash distribution aligned to the General Food Distribution (GFD). CBI funds for CRIs and Energy will be disbursed within 2 weeks after every GFD.

Kalobeyei

  • CRIs and Energy cash for 3 months, for the months of October, November and December will be released together, on the first week of November.
  • Subsequent months’ payments will be made on a bi-monthly basis aligned to Proof of Life (POL), and funds released within 2 weeks after every POL.

Important to note on management of funds: You are advised to use the cash received economically to last you until the next payment cycle.

Recent Cash Distribution

Kakuma

October and November cycle – Cash for CRIs (soap and sanitary materials) and Energy (for cooking) for Kakuma residents was disbursed to KCB bank accounts on 15th November 2021.

To access the funds:

  • Withdraw the cash at the nearest KCB bank agents in the camp, the first withdrawal is free of charge, up to a maximum of KES 5,000/- 
  • Withdraw from the KCB Bank ATM machine located in Kakuma Town, the first withdrawal is free of charge, up to a maximum of KES 5,000/- 

Any extra withdrawal will attract a fee of KES 100/- per transaction. You are therefore encouraged to make one transaction/withdrawal per month to avoid the KES 100/- fee.

Kalobeyei

Cash for CRIs (soap and sanitary materials) and Energy (for cooking) for Kalobeyei residents for the months of August and September has been released to your Equity bank accounts on 15th August 2021.

There are four (4) options to access the funds:

  • Purchase items at Point of Sale (PoS), Equity bank merchants by swiping your card. This is free of charge.
  • Cash withdrawals at the bank agents- charges applicable; KES 30/-, for withdrawal of up to Kes 2,500/-.
  • Cash withdrawals from the Bank ATM machines; KES 36/- charged per withdrawal regardless of the amount.
  • Withdrawal over the counter at the bank; KES 120/- charged regardless of the amount.

You are therefore encouraged to purchase items at the Point of Sale (PoS) by swiping your cards or make one withdrawal at the bank agents or ATM machines to avoid multiple transaction charges.

Data Updates

To receive the right bi-monthly entitlement, your data should be up-to-date in the UNHCR database. Therefore, you are required to attend the the Proof of Life exercise (Kalobeyei residents) or the General Food Distribution (Kakuma residents) as well as update your household information including change of focal point, change of address according to the assistance location, registration of newborns, activation and inactivation of individuals in the household, by visiting UNHCR field posts or writing an email to [email protected].


General Information on UNHCR Cash Assistance Programs

How is Cash Assistance Provided by UNHCR? UNHCR provides cash assistance to all refugees and asylum-seekers in Kalobeyei Settlement through Equity Bank and in Kakuma Camps through KCB bank. UNHCR process payments through refugees’ and asylum-seekers’ bank accounts that are opened through the UNHCR-facilitated process and captured in the UNHCR’s database (proGres v4) as an ‘Entitlement Card’. Given that cash assistance arrangements are location-specific any changes in address or location should also be reflected in UNHCR’s database for refugees and asylum-seekers to accurately receive their cash entitlements.

Cash for what? There are three cash grants that are currently being disbursed to refugees and asylum-seekers namely:

  • Shelter grants for selected/targeted families (only in Kalobeyei Settlement)
  • Core Relief Items (Soap, sanitary pads and pants) and Energy grants are small amounts paid bi-monthly to all refugees and asylum-seekers who are active in UNHCR’s  database and present in the camp (based on verification during the bi-monthly Proof of Life and General Food Distribution).
  • Education for selected students on Secondary Education Scholarship. Cash grant for Education includes school fees – disbursed through parents’ bank accounts, and educational/school supplies, pocket money stipend and transport – disbursed through students’ accounts at Equity Bank.
  • Voluntary Repatriation cash grants as pre-departure package to cover basic needs on arrival in the country of origin for refugees and Asylum seekers willing to return. (Currently only to Burundi). This cash is distributed Over the counter by Equity Bank on the day of departure.

Cash for Shelter and Latrines

Cash for Shelter grants: This is a grant disbursed to refugee families in Kalobeyei who have been assessed by the UNHCR multi-functional team (MFT) to convert their temporary shelters into permanent housing which is in compliance with the parameters developed by UNHCR and partners. NOTE: Child headed households and unaccompanied minors who qualify for shelter will be reached directly or through foster parents following assessment by UNHCR’s child protection partner, DRC.

What should refugees and asylum-seekers buy with the cash? The cash is for materials for a house, a household latrine and for labour. Ideally the targeted families buy construction materials, contribute unskilled labour (for those able to do so), and engage and manage labourers. UNHCR through a partner provides water for construction purposes.

Why are transfer values different? Transfer values for cash for shelter varies primarily by household size as follows:

  • Household size 1 to 5 qualifies for one standard shelter
  • Household size 6 to10 qualifies for one double shelter or two standard shelters
  • Household size 11+ qualifies for double shelter + one standard shelter

How much CBI will I receive for the house? The amounts of cash to be transferred are guided by the cost of a Standard shelter valued at 141,000KSH and a double shelter valued at 262,000 KSH.

Shelter Type Condition 1st instalment 2nd instalment 3rd installment Total KSH
Standard Timber (No) 32,000 62,000 47,000 141,000
Timber (Yes) 32,000 62,000 59,000 153,000
Double Timber (Yes) Iron sheet (No) 60,000 104,000 98,000 262,000
Timber (Yes) Iron sheet (Yes) 60,000 104,000 113,000 277,000

Can cash for shelter be paid in one go? Shelter grants are disbursed in three instalments based on the stage of construction. This is because cash for shelter is a conditional cash grant with restriction of using these funds only for shelter construction material.

Adjustments: The transfer values may be adjusted based on other technical considerations such the status of materials that can be re-used from the temporary shelter being converted and/or other protection considerations such as household composition etc.

What about the cash for latrine? The cash for the latrine is disbursed in two installments. (a) First Installment: 3,500 (Issued with shelters 1st installment) and (b) Second Installment: 12,500 (issued with the shelters second installment). Only once the latrine is completed can families receive the third installment for shelter.


Bi-monthly Cash Grants for Core Relief Items (Soap, sanitary pads and pants) and Energy Support

Cash grant for Core Relief Items (CRIs): This is a bi-monthly grant disbursed into refugees and asylum-seekers bank accounts together with cash for energy (see key message 13 below). All refugees and asylum-seekers qualify for this grant. The transfer values depend on the family size and number of women of age 11-50 years in each household and are guided by the local prices of each of the items and the monthly allocation of the in-kind support that UNHCR used to provide. These transfer values have been reviewed in February 2021 and are now as shown in the table below.

CBI for Core Relief Items
Essential basket Local Market price/KES Allocation for Woman aged 11-50 Man and children
Soap 250g 40 40 0
Sanitary pads, 16-pack 100 100 0
Women’s underwear 150 100 0
Soap, general distribution 450g 75 75 75
Total 315 75

Summary (bi-monthly allocation) 

  • Men and children (girls below 11 years): KES 150/- bi-monthly 
  • Women aged 11 – 50 years: KES 630/- bi-monthly

How were transfer values for CRIs determined? The soap monthly transfer value is based on the local price for 1,000g (1kg) which commonly found on the local market at KES 160 meaning that 450g and 250g soap entitlements for general distribution and for women of reproductive age (11-50 years) costs KES 75 and KES 40 respectively. NOTE: In the context of COVID19, where Food Distribution and Proof of Life exercise take place every two months, soaps and sanitary pads are provided for two months to the new arrivals who are registered in between a month and two months ahead of the Proof of Life exercise. This first distribution is provided in-kind.

Cash for Energy grants: Just like the cash for CRIs, cash grants for energy are provided to all refugees and asylum-seekers based on verification at the Food Distribution and Proof of Life every two months. This is to allow refugees and asylum-seekers to choose their preferred energy source as opposed to the general firewood distribution. Each refugee and asylum-seeker receives KES 84/bimonthly. This cash is disbursed together with cash for CRIs.

Are transfer Values Adjustable? UNHCR monitors the real market prices at least twice a year during the post distribution monitoring exercise and if there is a consistent increase of prices, the instalments will be adjusted, and it will be communicated to all the beneficiaries through bulk SMS, WhatsApp tree refugee leaders meetings and unhcr.org/Kenya/Kakuma.

When is the Bi-monthly cash disbursed? Cash is transferred within two weeks after General Food Distribution (for Kakuma) and Proof of Life (for Kalobeyei).

What about Child Headed Households (CHH) and Unaccompanied Minors (UAM)? CHH and UAM (under the age of 18) cannot receive cash given because as children they cannot open bank accounts  in Kenya. UAM who are on the same household as their foster parent or have a verified care arrangement can receive cash through their foster parent. Other children in child headed households will receive core relief items and energy/firewood as in-kind assistance.


Cash Payments, Delivery Mechanisms and Distribution Modalities

How is the cash transferred to refugees and asylum-seekers? Cash is delivered through household/case-linked bank accounts which are opened through the facilitation by UNHCR at Equity Bank for Kalobeyei Settlement and through KCB for Kakuma Refugee Camps. Only UNHCR-facilitated bank accounts captured in the UNHCR database can be used for CBI payments. Once payments are done a message notifying the refugees and asylum-seekers population is shared on various platforms accessed by refugees and asylum-seekers (see 14 above).

Who is the account holder and custodian of the ATM card? Each household is entitled to one free ATM card issued in the name of the custodian of the bank account who can be the focal point (HR1) or their spouses/female head of the household or a designate nominee focal point of the household.

What about refugees and asylum-seekers without bank accounts? The CBI team facilitates opening of new bank accounts for new arrivals after the first GFD/POL attended, and changes in focal point or designated account custodian in the household. CBI payments are transferred to the bank account based on all the active individuals in a household eligible to receive the different types of cash grants.

Refugees should ensure that their household data and bank account details are accurately captured in UNHCR database as per the message below which is often shared via bulk SMS and WhatsApp tree and unhcr.org/Kenya/Kakuma as part of regular updates.

Refugees should ensure that their household data and bank account details are accurately captured in UNHCR database as per the message below which is often shared via bulk SMS and Whats App tree and unhcr.org/Kenya/Kakuma as part of regular updates.

Refugees and Asylum-Seekers Data UpdatingTo receive the right bi-monthly entitlement, your data should be up to date in the UNHCR database. Therefore, you are required to attend the Proof of Life exercise (PoL) and the General Food Distribution as well as update your household information including: change of focal point, registration of new-borns, activation and inactivation of individuals in the household, by visiting UNHCR field posts or writing an email to [email protected].

Can inactivated cases/individuals access CBI? If an individual is inactive he or she is not eligible for cash assistance. If a household is new or needs to be reactivated or there are changes in the household membership such new born(s), new family members e.g. family reunification, relocation, resettlement, voluntary repatriation etc, such changes will only be valid for CBI payments after being updated in UNHCR’s database.

Lost, damaged or stolen ATM cards? The first ATMs are issued by the banks (Equity Bank for Kalobeyei and KCB bank for Kakuma refugees) at UNHCR’s cost. If a refugee or asylum-seeker loses their ATM card, they are charged KES 500 to replace by both Equity and KCB banks.

ATM card PIN protection. The refugees’/asylum seekers’ ATM card is their personal property, and the Personal Identification Number (PIN) is their own secret number. Therefore, as a security measure, ATM cards or PIN should not be shared with anyone including traders/suppliers to avoid loss of funds.


Cash Access and Utilisation

What are the Charges for accessing and using cash disbursed through KCB bank? (Kakuma only)

To access the funds through KCB bank the following apply:

  • Withdraw the cash at the bank agents, the first withdrawal is free of charge, up to a maximum of KES 5,000.
  • Withdraw from the Bank ATM machines, the first withdrawal is free of charge, up to a maximum of KES 5,000. Any extra withdrawal will attract a fee of KES 100 per transaction. Refugees and asylum-seekers are therefore encouraged to make one transaction/withdrawal per month to avoid the KES 100 fee.
  • Direct purchases from a merchant point of sale (POS) is also possible and is for free.

What are the Charges for accessing and using cash disbursed through Equity bank?

To access and utilise funds though Equity bank the following apply:

  • Direct purchases from a merchant point of sale (POS) is free.
  • Withdrawal from bank’s ATM machine attracts a transaction fee of KES 36.
  • Withdrawal over the counter at refugees and asylum-seekers’ bank branch in Kakuma or Kalobeyei attracts a transaction fee of KES 120.
  • Withdrawal intra-branch (at other branches) over the counter attracts a transaction fee of KES 180.
  • Withdrawals at Agents attracts a withdrawal fee tiered by the value to be accessed and this ranges from KES 30 to KES 270 depending on volume of cash withdrawn.

Does the cash received expire? No. The money received from UNHCR doesn’t expire and will not be refunded to UNHCR as it remains available for the refugees and asylum seekers as long as they are in Kenya. The bank accounts are fully-fledged, and refugees and asylum seekers can transact with funds from other sources including remittances and savings.

Should a refugee or asylum-seeker pay anyone for accessing his/her cash or for utilising it? No! Refugees and asylum-seekers or even Supplier are not supposed to pay an extra charge to the bank, supplier, partner or UNHCR staff to access cash assistance for any of the objectives or to supply goods and services. That is fraud and UNHCR has a zero tolerance to fraud. Any allegations of fraud are investigated.

Where do refugees and asylum-seekers report to or raise complaints about CBI? Persons of concern can report any complaints directly to: