As part of the growing efforts to tackle poverty and ensure Socio Economic development in the country, the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) is set to provide income support to 13,000 extremely poor households. The two year pilot programme will be implemented in Bombali, Kono, Moyamba and the Western Rural districts. The Social Safety Net (SSN) programme will involve cash transfers to identified vulnerable households. Each beneficiary household will receive a cash transfer equivalent of US $15 per month based on prevailing bank rates. This amount will be paid on a quarterly basis (every 3 months at US $45).
NaCSA provides unconditional cash transfers to extremely poor & vulnerable households
Meanwhile, NaCSA is also providing money in the form of ‘Labour Intensive Cash For Work’ (CFW) to vulnerable youths between the ages of 15 to 35 years in the same districts. Both projects will be implemented concurrently. But while the SSN will target heads of households, the CFW will target vulnerable youths who are willing to participate in community farming activities for a regular daily wage. The areas include Mafindo and Toli Chiefdoms in the Kono district, Timdale and Kowa Chiefdoms in the Moyamba district, Magbaimba Ndowahun and Tambakha Chefdoms in Bombali district and Mountain Rural and York Rural districts. These areas were selected based on the 2011 Sierra Leone Integrated Household Survey (SLIHS) data which ranked the 4 districts as the poorest in the country’s four regions.
NaCSA is implementing the scheme on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone and its development partners including the World Bank and UNICEF. During the roll out period, NaCSA staff were deployed in the various communities to register and select potential beneficiaries of both projects. NaCSA is collaborating with various Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) such as Statistics Sierra Leone, National Registration Commission as well as the Civil Society for the overall implementation of the programme. Community Oversight Committees (COCs) have particularly been constituted in each of the communities to oversee the fair and judicious execution of the twin projects in a bid to achieve its desired outcomes. NaCSA is also collaborating with the Anti Corruption Commission to address grievances, fraud and conflicts in respect of the projects.
Throughout the community mapping activities in the respective districts, community stakeholders validated the names and identities of potential beneficiaries to ascertain their poverty status. The community stakeholders lauded the efforts of the Government and NaCSA for what they described as “a realistic move towards the reduction of poverty in Sierra Leone”. NaCSA officials on their part thanked the people for their fullest participation and cooperation in the community mapping exercises. The actual cash transfer will begin in January 2015. Payment system will be facilitated by SPLASH, a money transfer agency contracted by NaCSA. Beneficiaries are expected to be permanently resident in the localities. It is expected that the cash will be used to address household needs such as increased school enrollment and retention, adequate food/nutrition consumption and improved health care among others. The female recipient shall be responsible to ensure that these expectations are met as part of their obligations.