Gender Ministry Combats Poverty; Provides Cash Transfer for the Poor
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, through the Liberia Safety Net Project(LSSN), is implementing a cash transfer program that is financed by the World Bank.
According to a document from the Ministry, the project supports the Government to establish the building blocks of a safety net, while continuing to provide cash transfers to extremely poor and food-insecure families in targeted counties.
In 2019, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection as part of its mandate, rolled out the Social Cash Transfer (SCT) Program which statistically commenced the provision of cash transfer to 3,500 households beginning with Grand Kru and Maryland counties, whilst the rest will continue in Bomi and River Gee counties respectively. The cash transfer program provides income support to approximately 10,000 extremely poor and food-insecure households in Liberia through regular cash transfers and Accompanying Measures (AM). The named counties were selected based on their highest rates of poverty and food insecurity in Liberia.
Additionally, the Social Registry System was also initiated during the year under review. The (SSS) program, almost completed, will include data as well as Management Information System (MIS) functions, which is to transform data according to basic business processes for delivering social assistance. The information gathered was on both potential and actual beneficiaries of social protection programs. The system became fully functional by the end of 2019 and contained data from Bong, Bomi, Maryland and Nimba by February 2020.
During the 2019 validation and payment exercises in Maryland and Grand Kru, 1,156 cases from the combine functions were dealt with, including 63 medical-related cases. Most of the other cases were Exclusion, Non-enrollment, Mix Data and Representation among others.
The document mentioned that LSSN is also expected to strengthen coordination between the Government and development partners and the project consists of the following components: Component 1. Strengthening of the National Social Safety Net System; Component 2: Social Cash Transfers (SCT) to Extremely Poor and Food Insecure Households); and Component 3. Project Management and Capacity Building.
The cash transfers is being delivered to households on a quarterly basis throughout the year and will vary according to the size of households and the transfers are made to the female member in the household with the most competence and responsibility for household spending. The cash transfer is to increase the potential for higher program impacts on nutrition and food security of household members, as well as human capital investments in children.
The document stressed that based on the economic analysis of the poverty gap and household consumption among extremely poor households, the transfer amount has been pegged at US$10 to US$34per month depending on the size of the households.
The size of the transfer will be reassessed periodically when the new household welfare data becomes available and updated if there are changes to the poverty gap, the value of household consumption or the food poverty line.
According to the Social Cash Transfer Document, the component will also support the implementation of accompanying measures.
The accompanying measures under this project are the sensitization of beneficiary households on the project’s objectives, and providing opportunities for them to adopt healthy nutrition practices and livelihood enhancing activities through educational workshops on (a)
cultivation of home gardens to grow fast yielding and nutritious foods using improved agricultural methods; and (b) increasing the food diversity and nutritional content in the household members’ diets, particularly among children under five”.