Monrovia-January 28, 2021 Members of the press, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is proud to announce that we have concluded all necessary requirements to begin a cash transfer pilot project, to fifteen thousand households in urban Montserrado County
This is in fulfillment of the government’s efforts to alleviate poverty amongst our people, and, in straight adherence to the Pro poor agenda for Prosperity and Development PAPD, as per H.E. President George Manneh Weah’s vision of lifting 1 million people out of poverty; as the foremost social protection institute, the Ministry is ecstatic to lead this history-making effort.
Of course, this is just a pilot, which means we are pushing to source more funding to continue these cash transfers in all parts of Montserrado County, especially for our people affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
This intervention is a part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to assist extremely poor and food-insecure families affected by the pandemic. This initiative is led by the Ministry’s Social Cash Transfer (SCT) Program, under the Liberia Social Safety Nets Project sponsored by the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and the World Bank. This effort is an expansion of the Government’s Social Protection portfolio as these households will be added to the Liberia Household Social Registry, a data platform that houses information that helps us determine levels of family vulnerabilities and the most needy communities.
The total amount for this pilot initiative is 3.4 million United dollars, provided by the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)/ UKaid. This is expected to be disbursed via Mobile Money, in two payments thru our implementing partner, Give Directly.
The Ministry selected locations for this pilot based on data collected on poverty statistics which included data by LIGIS, Slum-Dwellers Intl and the World Bank, on informal housing, the likelihood of natural disasters and health-specific infrastructure gaps creating additional vulnerability (e.g., lack of access to clinics, schools, drainage and other public facilities). All households within the selected communities like - Saye-Town, Blamo-Town, Mombo-Town East, etc., are eligible to receive support from the Social Cash Transfer to bring relief to communities, whilst at the same time helping them cope with their day-to-day activities and meet immediate household needs. This will prevent the use of negative coping strategies like -avoiding people selling their things to make ends meet, because of the pandemic.
The cash will be received by female heads of every household who is responsible for spending and catering to the needs of children, except where this person is not identified in the household. A single person household will receive fifteen dollars per transfer, while six persons plus households, will receive ninety dollars per transfer.
The government is committed to responding to the needs of all citizens and residents alike, as outlined in the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development and, the Weah-led Administration remains dedicated to lifting 1 million people out of poverty. Again, as government’s foremost Social Protection Institution, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection will continue to seek means through which it can respond to our vulnerable population.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press and the viewing public, as you may be aware, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is currently transferring cash to nearly four thousand beneficiary households in Maryland and Grand Kru Counties. The FCDO/UKaid has also committed 5 million dollars to the regular cash transfers in Maryland, Bomi, River Gee and Grand Kru Counties and the President of Liberia, Dr. George Manneh Weah, our administration, and the people of Liberia, remain grateful to them for their goodwill.
In December 2020, the project transitioned from physical cash transfers to mobile money, through which our beneficiaries in Maryland and Grand Kru will receive two quarter-payments worth of transfers next month (February) – in an amount totaling more than six hundred thousand United States dollar.
Please do not see this as a mere handout as we track our beneficiaries and provide them accompanying measures to assist in their upliftment from poverty. This is done by working with our partner government Ministries (Agriculture and Health) to provide support in home gardening, and education on healthy lifestyles and on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), respectively.
To ensure a comprehensive Social Protection Sector, the Liberia Household Social Registry (LHSR) has commenced data collection in 4 counties: Bong, Bomi, Nimba and Maryland. Approximately 200,000 households will be enrolled, and their biometric credentials – fingerprints – will be taken. After the completion of these four counties, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has plans to continue Data Collection is another five to six counties to be announced shortly.
The LHSR is a national information system that includes data on all potential beneficiaries of social programming with the intention of matching them to a coordinated Social Protection system. As alluded to earlier, the Social Registry gathers information on both potential and actual beneficiaries of existing Social Protection programs to streamline government’s ability to verify beneficiaries and be deliberate about coverage, thus providing accurate eligibility screening mechanisms to assess the poverty and food insecurity conditions of households.
Again, we want to thank our partners FCDO/UKaid (formerly DFID), USAID, and the World Bank for their support. The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, hopes to source more funding from partners to continue the work of our Liberia Social Safety Nets Projects and enable us increase support to the poorest of the poor beneficiaries across the country.
Mombo Town East