26 June 2019

Liberia: Govt Targets One Million People for Social Services, Social Cash Transfer

Mrs. Saydee-Tarr shares copies of the signed documents with Dr. Daniel Asare-Kyei .

The Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection (MGCSP) has signed a contract with Esoko to collect social data in four of 15 counties, which aims to qualify 'extremely poor people' for social services, and social cash transfer. The program will be supported by government and partners.

Gender Minister, Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr, disclosed on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 during the signing of a data collection contract between the government and Esoko, held at the Gender Ministry in Monrovia.

Mrs. Saydee-Tarr said government will use the information largely collected for social development. She however described the initiative as the first in Liberia's history that government will setup a registry, specifically dedicated to social data information issues, and directly concentrated on the poorest of the poor. The four counties targeted for the exercise are Nimba, Maryland, Bong and Bomi.

"As we gather here for a new data collection contract, recertification of our former beneficiaries of social cash is currently taking place in Grand Kru and Maryland counties. At the end of the recertification in the coming weeks, our social cash team will be giving out cash to about 4,000 households in two counties," Mrs. Saydee-Tarr said.

According to her, the ministry will play its part, while holding the Esoko accountable for their responsibilities under the contract adding, the program currently targets one million people in the targeted communities (four counties.)

"This work is in the interest of the poor and needy, because their hopes and aspirations to receive government's intervention is tied to the quality of data you will produce," she said.

She then expressed gratitude to the World Bank and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for their support, assuring the partners that the data from these counties will clearly inform government about the number of the 'extremely poor' and food insecure communities.

The Social Registry will support and host the database architecture of all households. It is expected to provide the initial building block of an efficient social protection system that will reduce duplication and improve effectiveness of the social protection sector in reaching the poorest households.

Esoko chief executive officer, Dr. Daniel Asare-Kyei, said poverty cannot be determined by looking at people faces, but there has to be a systematic process to determine whether the people are poor or not.

Such a system will assist government to handle some of the problems and will be the beginning of many good things to come.

According to Mr. Asare-Kyei, the program is being carried out in more than 20 countries in Africa, including Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Burkina Faso and Tanzania, and remains to extend the initiative to Liberia.

He said the program will create jobs for Liberians through recruitment and training despite the activities being spearheaded by a Ghanaian company.

Ms. Vaiba Flomo, manager of the Social Registry Unit at MGCSP, said in 2013, the Government of Liberia launched an interim five-year strategy, the Agenda for Transformation (AfT), which identified social protection as a key aspect of the government's development agenda.

The sector aims to improve protection for the poorest communities, most vulnerable households and groups from poverty, deprived and hungry to enhance resilience to risk and shocks. The Social Registry is an information system that includes data as well as MIS function to transform that data, according to basic business processes for delivering social assistance.

Madam Flomo said the activities will help to establish the key building block of a basic national safety net delivery system and provide income support to households, who are both extremely poor and food insecure in the country.

"The system established is expected to benefit other government social protection programs, as well as interventions opened by collaborating development partners," she said.


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