Kenya’s Universal Basic Income Experiment

Give Directly, an NGO, has embarked on a pioneering economic experiment in rural Kenya. They are providing the residents of entire villages with a universal basic income through direct cash transfers.

Magleen, a subsistence farmer, used the $1,000 she received to build a house. “Now I have a good home that’s not leaking. I am happy.” Finland and Canada are also experimenting with universal income provision. Alan Kreuger hopes that success in Kenya will transfer to western nations. “We’ll see how much we can extrapolate from the fields here in Kenya to other contexts.”

Since it was founded in 2011, U.S.-based nonprofit GiveDirectly has given cash unconditionally to villagers in eastern Africa, particularly Kenya and Uganda. The nonprofit’s most recent project involves providing a basic income consisting of cash payments to every adult in a rural Kenyan village. NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent Chris Livesay reports from Kenya.





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