November, 2022, Kambia Resource Center, Kambia Town – The President of the Republic of Sierra Leone His Excellency Dr. Julius Maada Bio has launched the Productive Social Safety Nets and Youth Employment (PSSNYE) project.
The PSSNYE builds on the successes of the existing Social Safety Nets (SSN) Project that has established the key building blocks for a basic national safety net system in Sierra Leone and aims to scale up existing implementation, in addition to introducing new activities to address youth employment in urban and rural areas. The project is funded by the Government of Sierra Leone, the World Bank and UNICEF with the objective “to improve access to social safety nets and income generating opportunities for targeted beneficiaries' '.
The ‘’Ep Fet Po Champion’’ His Excellency RTD Brigadier Dr. Julius Maada Bio reiterated the commitment of his government in ensuring the successes of social protection programs. For an effective and impactful success of the PSSNYE project, His Excellency further called for a strong cross-sectoral collaboration among relevant ministries, departments, agencies, and local and city councils in implementing the Project. Expecting the Anti-Corruption Commission to ensure transparency and accountability along all the stages of implementation and service delivery. He emphasized that the project will be implemented in all sixteen districts.
‘’We have drawn from our experiences from the existing social safety net project and included an emergency cash transfer scheme to support households after disasters and a contingency emergency response fund for responding to less predictable but higher intensity disasters.’’ He continued. ‘’… the PSSNYE is firmly grounded in our commitments in the Medium-Term National Development Plan. It focuses on the twin objectives of improving access to social safety nets and income generating opportunities. It will scale up existing cash transfers to extremely poor households; introduce an integrated package of livelihood services for families transitioning out of poverty; provide productive public works opportunities for youth; introduce seed-funding to support entrepreneurship for educated youth in urban areas; establish a platform that connects youth with employment and training opportunities; and, continue building the capacity of implementing agencies.’’ He said
The President believed that as a country, we can fight inequality and poverty by investing in people, pursuing policies with a heart, and generating the necessary goodwill among partners to help our most vulnerable cope with and transition out of vulnerability and poverty.
In his statement, the World Bank Country Manager – Abdu Muwonge reemphasized the role of social protection programs and the expected impacts of the PSSNYE project. He underscored the country partnership framework that is currently in use outline three pillars; human capital development, inclusive growth and economic diversification. He stated that in terms of hardship when the extreme poor need help, the only cushion that helps them against shocks is a program like the social safety nets program currently implemented by the National Commission for Social Action.
‘’The country partnership framework of the World Bank builds on human capital, the growth and economic diversification pillars and the PSSNYE project cut across these key pillars development.’’ He said; noting that Social Protection programs have enabled young boys and girls to get back to school, enable access to health care particularly for teenage young girls, provided a link between the long and short terms benefit not only for women but also for persons with disability and other vulnerable groups. ’’The incoming program is not only providing cash transfer but it provides the foundation that will enhance human capital development, economic inclusion and diversification.’’ He reemphasized.
The Commissioner of NaCSA - Sao-Kpato Hannah Isatta Max-Kyne (PhD) noted that the project comprises of five components; SSN Cash Transfers and Provision of Economic Inclusion Support, Productive Labor-Intensive Public Works and Life Skills Support for Youth, Employment and Entrepreneurship Support for Youth, Support to Youth-led Household Enterprises, Systems Development, Institutional Strengthening and Project Management Support and Contingent Emergency Response Component (CERC). ‘’His Excellency, as of 2022, the Social Safety Nets Project has enrolled 98,800 households of which 38% are persons with disability. A total number of 592,800 individual beneficiaries have been targeted and enrolled. The team is preparing to commence targeting for emergency cash transfer to 35,000 beneficiary households, launch of Green Public Works pilot in Urban areas, conduct needs assessment to inform economic inclusion intervention, roll out youth entrepreneurship support and development of youth platform.’’ She ended.
Heads of other government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Paramount Chiefs, women and youth leaders and members of the host community extended appreciation to His Excellency.
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