NaCSA AND UNICEF COMMIT TO DEVELOP OPTIONS FOR CASH+ PROGRAMMING TO REDUCE EARLY PREGNANCY & CHILD..
NaCSA AND UNICEF COMMIT TO DEVELOP OPTIONS FOR CASH+ PROGRAMMING TO REDUCE EARLY PREGNANCY AND CHILD MARRIAGE.
Occasions Enterprises, Lakka Beach Road, 7th November 2023 - the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) and the United Nations International Children Emergency Funds (UNICEF) have commenced a two-day Consultative Workshop to develop a Cash Plus Program for the prevention of Child Marriage through Social Protection. The workshop brought together a diverse group of experts, and government and private sector officials to discuss and suggest a design of a Cash-plus Social Protection program that will seek to prevent child marriage, improve the lives of girls, and ensure a brighter future for our nation.
It could be recalled that the Productive Social Safety Nets and Youth Employment (PSSNYE) initiative has been put into action by the government of Sierra Leone and its development partners. The government's focus on providing integrated services for disadvantaged households is one of the project's main goals. Similarly, the PSSNYE project may also be used as a foundation for the addition of more cash-plus components aimed at addressing the causes of child marriage as well as services that support the safe transition of girls into adulthood.
In her statement before the commencement of the workshop, the Social Development Specialist for NaCSA, Md. Isata Blake called on participants to own the discussions primarily because the products of the engagements are for the betterment of Sierra Leoneans especially the most vulnerable. Mona Korsgard, Chief of Evidence, Policy and Social Protection for UNICEF Sierra Leone noted that she is pleased to see so many subject matter experts. ‘’ We have gathered people to discuss how we can broaden Social Protection to reach the extremely poor and how it can be a tool to fight against early marriage and teenage pregnancy. As always, you are assured of the unrivalled commitment of UNICEF.’’ She ended.
Ms Liv Elin Indreiten, UNICEF Deputy Representative (programme) congratulated the government and people of Sierra Leone for the tremendous progress in social protection. She noted that ‘’ Integrated inclusive social protection programmes can help these girls. International evidence demonstrates that cash transfers have a positive impact on children’s and adolescents’ school attendance and can support adolescents in making a safe transition to adulthood. There is also evidence from African countries that women beneficiaries of cash transfers became less exposed to intimate partner violence, and adolescent girls benefiting from cash-plus programmes - which link cash and services such as life-skills education - are less vulnerable to sexual exploitation. The workshop today is to discuss possible ways of leveraging the social protection system to achieve the objectives of preventing child marriage and teenage pregnancy. Our consultant Qimti will facilitate the discussion, and I encourage you all to participate actively.” Shed continues.
The Commissioner of NaCSA, Ambassador Ernest Mbaimba Ndomahina emphasized the importance of cash-plus programs in social protection especially in the form of cash assistance programs to extremely poor communities. ” Most often, cash plus interventions are conditional transfers to help poor families comply with essential responsibilities such as school attendance and retention. With this workshop, we intend to explore initiatives for cash plus support to extremely poor families to help them cope with some of the odds of social norms; early marriage and teenage pregnancy.” He stated.
The Commissioner further expressed that the government team is hopeful to combine the Unconditional cash transfers of the ongoing PSSNYE project with Cash Plus.
’’ Much will be obtained in achieving key programme objectives. We will be able to get families to educate their children, especially the girl child and position them to meaningfully contribute to human capital development. With this in mind, I declared this workshop open.’’ He ended.
For further information on this and other matters, please contact: The Information, Education and Communication Unit