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NaCSA and UNICEF Commence a Consultative Workshop to Develop a Cash-Plus Program for the Prevention of Child Marriage through Social Protection...

Tuesday 13th February 2024;

Occasions Resort – Lakka–

It could be recalled that on the 7th November 2023, the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) and the United Nations International Children Emergency Funds (UNICEF) engaged experts from Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, National and International Non-Governmental Organizations, donor funding agencies and the private sector to design a Cash Plus Program for the prevention of Child Marriage through Social Protection.

Following several technical engagements, NaCSA and UNICEF have reconvened these experts to continue the technical multi-sectoral dialogue on preventing child marriage and teenage pregnancy, review and discuss the proposed integrated (cash+) model for the prevention of child marriage and teenage pregnancy, map out the sub-component and operationalization considerations for each component of the proposed cash+ model and revisit the theory of change for the cash+ model and commence the development of a Monitoring and Evaluation framework.

In her earlier statement, Mona Korsgard, Chief of Evidence, Policy and Social Protection for UNICEF Sierra Leone elaborated on the journey to developing a cash+ initiative for the country. She noted that the consultative meeting will map out a new framework for leveraging social protection to address teenage pregnancy and early marriage.  

Ms Liv Elin Indreiten, UNICEF Deputy Representative (programme) in Sierra Leone reiterated UNICEF’s commitment to ensuring that the cash+ initiative is a success. She noted that the collaboration with and cooperation from implementing partners is commendable. *‘’ UNICEF has worked with the Government of Sierra Leone to develop a social protection strategy. The strategy uses a life course approach in responding to social protection. The development of the Strategy was divided between specialized technical working groups to ensure complete national ownership of the process and to ensure that the Strategy fully represents the NSPP's commitment to a life-course approach backed by strong, common, and scalable systems. These groups addressed the program and system strengthening components, which make up the two primary parts of the strategy. Six of these groupings were created on the program side to correspond with the six major life-course stages listed in the National Social Protection Policy.’’* She ended.

Sir Jimmy Batilo Songa is the Deputy Commissioner of NaCSA, in his statement of assurance, he noted that the President of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Dr. Julius Maada Bio has demonstrated unfiltered support to advancing women’s political participation, economic empowerment, access to justice, the fight against gender-based violence and the protection of children, predominantly the girl child. *‘’I am particularly honoured to be with you, not only to articulate our continued commitment towards this process but to reiterate further that the time to enhance the full potential of women and children by protecting their rights is now. Our collective actions and combined resources backed by the political ‘’will’’ have given us the platform to succeed and we must succeed. We gather here not only as representatives of our respective organizations but as advocates for the well-being and future of our nation's adolescent girls and boys. Today marks a significant milestone as we join hands with UNICEF to explore innovative preventive mechanisms aimed at tackling the pervasive issues of teenage pregnancy and early marriage in Sierra Leone. The challenges we face are multifaceted and deeply rooted in socio-economic and cultural factors that demand a comprehensive, collaborative response.’’* He noted.

In conclusion, he called on participants to recognize the gravity of the task at hand and the potential positive impact of this collaborative effort between UNICEF and the Government of Sierra Leone noting that the shared commitment will lay the foundation for a brighter and more secure future for our adolescents. *‘’On behalf of the President of Sierra Leone, I declare this meeting officially open. Thank you for your dedication, and I look forward to the productive discussions and outcomes of this consultation workshop.’’* He ended.

*For further information on this and other matters* *Please contact:* *The Information, Education and Communication Unit* *+23277022709/+23278319419/+23230518539*

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