Enhance Coordination of the Social Protection Sector and Operationalize the Social Protection Policy
In a two-day validation workshop, the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) through the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) has validated the National Social Protection Strategy. The strategy tends to strengthen the strategic vision and direction of the social protection sector and outlines the strategic priority areas for the next five years in order to meet the policy objectives laid out in the National Social Protection Policy.
Social protection is high on the agenda of the Government of Sierra Leone. Its flagship Social Safety Net (SSN) programme and other social protection interventions have reached more than 190,000 extremely poor households with a regular cash transfer which has allowed beneficiary households to smooth their consumption and mitigate the most severe impacts of poverty. Additionally, the Government has in the Mid Term National Development Plan 2019-2023 (MTNDP) declared its commitment to developing a strong national social protection system and delivering quality social protection services to the population with the aim of enhancing human capital. Taking into account the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government made the decision to expand the SSN programme nationwide to reach an additional 70,000 households and has adjusted the programme to address a broader range of vulnerabilities and needs.
In her opening statement, the Minister of State, Office of the Vice President – Md. Francess Piagie Alghali emphasized the government's continued commitment to help protect the extremely poor households that are not directly able to personalize the benefit of development. She stated that ‘’… in 2019, GoSL developed the Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) that has promoted programmes on Free and quality education, school feeding, strengthened the Free Health Care Initiative, expanded the Social Safety Nets programmes to the extremely poor population in all districts with a focus on persons with disability, promote employment creation, skills development and micro-enterprise schemes.'' She further stated that ‘’Government has realized that like many other countries, there are a myriad of Ministries, Departments and Agencies providing social protection programmes. However, effective coordination of these programmes has been minimal. Therefore, there is need to establish systems to strengthen leadership of comprehensive and harmonized social protection programme based on firm principles of complementarity, coordination and avoidance of duplication of resources.’’
The Commissioner of NaCSA, Dr. Sao-Kpato Hannag Isatta Max-Kyne extended appreciation and recognized the supports of the government, development partners including the World Bank, European Union, UNICEF and a host of International Non-Governmental Organizations, local authorities and partners in the implementation of NaCSA’s numerous community development programmes across the country. ‘’Twenty years ago, when the Commission was founded, it assumed responsibility as a key player in championing the country’s social protection services. The Commission continues to be pivotal in addressing vulnerability by providing income support to the extreme poor.’’ She noted.
Dr. Abu Kargbo, World Bank Senior Protection Specialist underscores the importance to roll out the strategy within the evolving operating context in social protection to address the increased rate of vulnerability and poverty exacerbated by pandemic, shocks and emergencies. ‘’there will be challenges but there is a need for the country to take deliberate actions including the enactment of the Social Protection Bill.’’ He ended. UNICEF Chief Field Officer, Andrew Sellu indicated that UNICEF is pleased that the strategy pays strong attention to the need for Gender Based Violence risk mitigation in social cash transfers, as well as provides appropriate referrals for GBV cases and enhancing linkages with the national GBV referral system.
The validation workshop hosted representatives from different Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Donor and international organizations, local councils and authorities and women and youth organizations.
*For more information on this and other matters, *
Please Contact NaCSA IEC unit