Call for uni­fied so­cial safety net scheme

Lesotho Times - - News - Lim­pho Sello

EU­RO­PEAN Union (EU) Am­bas­sador to Le­sotho Dr Michael Doyle has urged the gov­ern­ment to cre­ate a uni­fied so­cial safety net scheme to im­prove mon­i­tor­ing and co­or­di­na­tion of var­i­ous pro­grammes.

Dr Doyle made the re­mark on Mon­day dur­ing the launch of the Emer­gency Cash Trans­fer in Mapoteng, Berea.

Dur­ing the launch cer­e­mony, 998 ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the Child Grants Pro­gramme (CGP) re­ceived a top up of M500 to buf­fer them from the ef­fects of the El Nino-in­duced drought cour­tesy of the United Na­tions (UN) Cen­tral Emer­gency Re­sponse Fund.

CGPS, which are pro­vided by gov­ern­ment on a quar­terly ba­sis, are meant to sup­ple­ment the in­come of poor house­holds car­ing for or­phaned and vul­ner­a­ble chil- dren.

The fam­i­lies also re­ceived home gardening kits from the Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­gan­i­sa­tion (FAO) which in­cluded a shade net, home gardening train­ing ma­te­ri­als in Se­sotho and six types of veg­etable seeds.

Dr Doyle said the ben­e­fi­cia­ries were se­lected through the Na­tional In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem for So­cial As­sis­tance (NISSA).

“NISSA was start­ed­back in 2009 as a pi­lot dur­ing the first phase of EU sup­port to so­cial pro­tec­tion,” he said.

“It started as a pa­per-based tool, with forms that were used for col­lec­tion of so­cio-eco­nomic in­for­ma­tion at house­hold level.”

Dr Doyle said NISSA con­tained data on 120 000 house­holds cat­e­go­rized by four cat­e­gories of vulnerability.

“These rep­re­sent about 600 000 in­di­vid­u­als in 38 com­mu­nity coun- cils in all the 10 dis­tricts, or more than a quar­ter of all Ba­sotho,” he said.

“The de­vel­op­ment of a na­tional registry in Le­sotho with a sin­gle data­base in which in­for­ma­tion on all po­ten­tial house­holds and in­di­vid­u­als el­i­gi­ble for so­cial pro­tec­tion in­ter­ven­tions can be se­curely stored is a pre­req­ui­site for a strong sys­tem.”

The am­bas­sador also ex­plained that NISSA im­proved the time for im­ple­men­ta­tion and eased the fu­ture pro­gram­ming of so­cial ex­pen­di­ture.

“We en­cour­age the gov­ern­ment to use NISSA to plan to­wards a uni­fied so­cial safety net scheme (SSN). The cur­rent pi­lot SSN will hope­fully be in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized and ex­panded into a uni­fied sys­tem where at least three cash trans­fers (CGP, Pub­lic As­sis­tance and OVC Bur­sary) will be in­cluded dur­ing this third and last phase of EU sup­port for so­cial pro­tec­tion,” said Dr Doyle.

FAO Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Yves Klom­pen­houwer, said they dis­trib­uted home gardening kits to­com­pli­ment­the CGP as 90 per­cent of ru­ral house­holds in Le­sotho had a gar­den plot.

He said FAO Le­sotho would dis­trib­ute 21 000 home gardening kits in 2016 to CGP re­cip­i­ents, adding that 5 000 of the kits would be dis­trib­uted next month.

For his part, So­cial De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Mo­lahlehi Let­lotlo warned the ben­e­fi­cia­ries that the grant­would not last­for­ever and urgedthem to come up with in­come-gen­er­at­ing projects for their sus­te­nance.

He also called on the re­cip­i­ents to make full use of the home gardening kits and fund­ing, adding that they would re­turn to as­sess whether they have served the in­tended pur­pose.

“We are go­ing to come back here again to see if you are fully uti­liz­ing the kits and whether the cash you were given is used to ad­dress the chil­dren’s needs,” Mr­let­lotlo said.

“In the past, we were not mak­ing fol­low-ups, but now we will def­i­nitely re­turn. Those peo­ple who abuse the money or re­ceive it when they don’t qual­ify are go­ing to be in big trou­ble be­cause that, on its own, is a crime.”

In the past, we were not mak­ing fol­low-ups, but now we will def­i­nitely re­turn. Those peo­ple who abuse the money or re­ceive it when they don’t qual­ify are go­ing to be in big trou­ble be­cause that, on its own, is a crime

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