20th December, 2022 – Community Plaza, Kabala, Koinadugu district; To evaluate progress, identify opportunities and ensure effective coordination amongst key players in the social protection sector, the Inter-Agency Forum (IAF) on Social Protection has ended its 2022 inter-agency forum meeting.
The IAF is a deliberate gathering of relevant Government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), donors including the World Bank and UNICEF and other collaborating agencies on social protection. The forum is chaired by the Honorable Vice President and Co-Chair by the Minister of Labour and Social Security. 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.
In his statement to the Forum, the Honorable Minister of Labour and Social Security – Alpha Osman Timbo reiterated government commitment to ensuring a national social protection system that will enhance the capacity of the country’s human capital. He called on strong inter- agency collaboration and an accurate flow of information that is consistent with the aspirations spelt out in the Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP). ‘’…in line with what has been discussed, the forum has endorsed the following; update on the Productive Social Safety Nets and Youth Employment Project, Production and distribution of the Social Protection Strategy, Presentation of the strategy to the Honourable Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, update on the social protection bill, implementation of the Contingency Emergency Response Component…’’
Speaking to attendees, the Deputy Commissioner of NaCSA – Sir Jimmy Batilo echoed that the annual IAF meeting is to conduct a critical evaluation of social protection interventions across the board and seek opportunities for further interventions. ‘’ …as the institution hosting the National Social Protection Secretariat, NaCSA’s role cannot be overemphasized. We are smoothly implementing the Social Safety Nets program with cash transfers to the extremely poor households in Sierra Leone and we are committed not only because social protection forms a relevant component of the country’s Medium Term National Development plan (MTNDP) and the Quick Action Economic Response Programme, but primarily because the program development objective focuses on poverty reduction.’’ He noted.
The World Bank Representative, Dr. Abu Kargbo, on behalf of the Country Manager caution the forum to Fasttrack the implementation of the Productive Social Safety Nets and Youth Employment Project whilst diligently folding up the existing Social Safety Net Program. Additionally, UNICEF applauds the government for its continued leadership towards strengthening social protection as stated in the MTNDP and further detailed in both the social protection policy and the validated strategy. ‘’UNICEF is pleased to strengthen the Grievance Redress Mechanism in social protection and the opportunity to further support capacity building for the social protection sector on Gender Based Violence risk mitigation in social and humanitarian transfers. We were impressed to see the new learning being put into practice during payments.’’ He ended.
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