International conference on Social Protection: Perspectives, Policies and Best Practices – Day 2
Arusha, December 17th 2014 - The three-day international conference on Social Protection: Building Effective and Sustainable Systems for Equitable Growth took place from 15th to 17th December 2014 in Arusha, Tanzania, organized by the Poverty Eradication Department of the Ministry of Finance of the Government of Tanzania, with support from UNICEF, ILO and the Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI). It gathered together policy-makers, researchers and practitioners directly involved in the planning, design, and implementation of social protection programmes and systems, with the objective of encouraging South-South exchange of cutting-edge knowledge and best practices.
Day 2 of the event was chaired by the Honourable Aggrey Mwanri (Deputy Minister of State, Prime Minister’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government, Tanzania).
Usha Mishra (Chief of Social Policy, UNICEF Tanzania) opened with a recap of the historical moments of day one of the event. She recognised the diversity of sectors and delegates who participated in the event. She then emphasised how despite the sustained and substantial growth Africa has achieved, poverty remains a considerable challenge. She continued noting how the factors of production are unevenly distributed; there are haves and have not’s; and as long as societies remain unequal and growth is not enjoyed equally, inequality will increase, as it has in Tanzania. Thus government has a responsibility to the poor and vulnerable. Even in the developed world, people are left behind, exposing the crucial role of social protection.
Sub Session 2
Sub Session 2 began with a look into Sectorial Responsibilities and Synergies in Tanzania. Ladislaus Mwamanga (Tanzanian Social Action Fund Director, Tanzania) presented on the topic of Strengthening Social Service Delivery/Supply Side within TASAF III – Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN). He introduced the background of the programme and its evolution since 2000. This exposed the immense progress the programme has achieved in terms of coverage, design and implementation since its initiation. Even so, coverage, low capacity at the community level, inadequate reporting and poor functionality of created assets (health, education and water) remain considerable challenges. Furthermore, not everybody is equally poor; with many people living very close to the poverty line, therefore targeting is rendered extremely challenging.
This is what has motivated the pursuit of ensuring a national social safety net in TASAF III to reach over 1 million people living below the food poverty line. TASAF III is aimed at capacity enhancement of beneficiaries to enable poor households to increase their incomes and opportunities while improving consumption, especially during lean seasons and shocks. This in turn is intended to increase access to services and improve human capital. The selection and registry of TASAF III beneficiaries is determined by the poverty index for Tanzania’s poorest villages at the household level according to local government data, to ensure that the poorest are covered by the programme.
The programme demands approximately 0.8 per cent of Tanzania’s GDP. However, the expected impact is to reduce extreme poverty by 52 per cent and the poverty gap by 43 per cent. Mwamanga noted the effectiveness of adopting a phased approach to programme rollout as it facilitates capacity building. Shortages in health and education supply remain considerable challenges. Limited resources mean that all sectors need to cooperate and coordinate their efforts effectively and identify gaps in order to determine budget priorities of the programme.
Rogers Dhliwayo (UNDP, Tanzania) followed with a presentation on the Joint UNDP-UNICEF-UNFPA-ILO Programme to support Tanzania’s Productive Social Safety Nets, put together to support TASAF by leveraging the comparative advantage of each organisation. Dhliwayo highlighted the issue of intersectoral linkages, coordination, monitoring and evaluation, and the supply side of the programme as essential components to address. In this regard, collaboration is essential to ensure services are delivered and function.
Tanzania’s economy has grown considerably, but this growth has been disconnected from poverty reduction because the sectors which have grown have not generated enough jobs. Furthermore, the pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) in Tanzania was not successful in terms of education, water and sanitation. Rapid population growth has also exacerbated poverty as families are large rendering them more inclined to be poor. Due to these challenges, TASAF requested the UN to aid it in up-scaling, monitoring and evaluation, establishing the national social protection framework and ensuring linkages with other problems such as climate change and HIV, to achieve sustainable livelihoods for the beneficiaries in order for them to exit from poverty.
Kuki Tarimo (Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Tanzania) then presented Promoting equity and social protection and social welfare. He began by introducing the social protection policies that have been put in place since Tanzania achieved independence. He then explored the structure and implementation of the National Social Health Protection Framework (NSHPF). Extreme poverty and malnutrition is a priority of the government and interventions are provided freely. A notable achievement has been the establishment of a community health fund in 1999, which now covers over 80 per cent of the country’s municipalities. Government leadership, along with the involvement of the both the public and private sectors and communities are recognised as essential lessons learned from NSHPF’s implementation.
Promoting equity and social protection within the water sector was then explored (Ministry of Water, Tanzania). An overview of the water sector was introduced, exposing how equity issues exist in terms of water supply coverage, especially among the poorest, with 30 per cent depending on untreated surface water. Furthermore, the poor often pay more for water and sanitation services than the wealthy, as they have to obtain them from private vendors. Challenges to the sector include identifying the vulnerable, especially those in hard to reach places where water is scarce.
John Senzighe (Ministry of Education, Tanzania) followed with a discussion of Promoting equity and social protection within the education sector. The new education and training policy, endorsed in 2014, is aimed at preparing students with basic skills and knowledge for further education and participation in the job market, as well as transforming basic education from 7 to 11 years. Education is considered to be a form of social protection in the country, therefore the country is embarking on a complete overhaul of the system to achieve “Big Results Now” in education. Nine strategies have been adopted to improve the quality of education. The aim is to achieve an 80 per cent pass rate.
Saimon Panga (Department of Social Welfare, Tanzania) then presented Sectorial roles and synergies in implementing social protection programmes and building an integrated social protection system in Tanzania. He recognised the role of the Social Welfare sector in contributing to the development of the nation by improving welfare and empowering vulnerable groups such as the disabled, elderly and at risk children, as well as improving their access to social protection.
Session 4, titled Designing Effective Social Protection Interventions, was dedicated to South-South learning and identification of the relevant lessons learned for Tanzania. The session was chaired by the Honourable Pereire Silima (Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Tanzania).
It commenced with insight from Sudhanshu Handa (UNICEF Office of Research, Italy) into Evaluating cash transfers in Africa: Experiences from the Transfer Project. He presented an overview of impact evaluation results across thirteen countries where the Transfer Project operates. In terms of subjective well-being, evaluations of the Project have observed strong improvements. With respect to food security there has been an improvement in diet diversity and consumption. Schooling enrolment at the secondary level displayed the strongest improvement across the board. Healthcare displayed more nuanced results, with consistent decreases in the illness rate and an increase in health spending being witnessed. Handa recognised how achieving an impact on nutritional status is complex and limited as it depends on other factors; cash plus complimentary inputs are required to generate improvements.
Exciting evidence has been the positive impact the Project has on adolescence and the transition to adulthood. Furthermore, there has been a shift from casual labour to on farm work, which is more decent work. Spill-over effects into the local economy have also been positive. Overall it is shown that the impact depends on the size of the transfer. Handa acknowledged how at least a 20 per cent per capita consumption transfer is required for widespread impacts to be achieved.
Then Esmie Kaimja (University of Malawi) presented on Using strengthened local government structures: Malawi’s social cash transfer programme for ultra-poor vulnerable households. She noted how success is dependent on high level technical support, high profile multi-sector involvement and support from government. What’s more, the success of districts depends on their capacity, especially in terms of managerial skills and the quality of volunteers. Ultimately, decentralised structures can function in delivering social protection.
The Impact of cash plus care approaches in South Africa followed via video link by Lucie Cluver (University of Cape Town, South Africa). She presented collaborative national longitudinal research on adolescence and the impact of HIV. Vulnerability, particularly social and economic, was found to put adolescents at the highest risk of contracting HIV. South Africa’s Child Support Grant was found to make a significant impact on transactional sex of adolescent girls. Having established the impact of conditional cash transfers on the risky behaviour of adolescents, the research went on to consider the impact of care. The combination of cash plus care was found to have much improved results, especially on adolescent boys.
In exploring what kinds of cash and care benefits work best, she established that good parental monitoring and teacher support considerably reduces the engagement of boys in HIV risk behaviour, while school feeding and parental monitoring has a positive effect on girls. Operationalising care was also addressed, using the example of UNICEF’s and WHO’s Parenting for Lifelong Health initiative.
Following the lunch break, Berhanu Woldemichael (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ethiopia) presented Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP): Public Works. It addresses chronic food insecurity and poverty, a notable feature of rural Ethiopia due to environmental shocks, climate variations, poor land use and degraded land. There was a shift in 2005 from providing emergency relief to development orientated relief, by securing productive assets of families via transfers to food insecure households.
Thus PSNP comprises of two components: Direct Support to the chronically food insecure who are labour deprived and Public Work for able bodied individuals. The programme covers over 5 million beneficiaries in 8 drought prone regions. Beneficiaries are targeted via administrative and community based targeting approaches. The transfer includes food and cash, following the cash first principle. The ultimate goal of the programme is for people to graduate, which is achieved once people can meet their food needs for 12 months.
Addressing the benefits of unified transfers to multiple categories of individuals through targeting the household: Zimbabwe’s Harmonised Social Cash Transfers was then presented by Leon Muwoni (UNICEF Zimbabwe). Zimbabwe is emerging from an economic crisis which left 1.9 million households (62.7 per cent) poor and a weakened social protection system. Zimbabwe’s social protection system was once well established but lost operational capacity during the crisis. Consequently, 200,000 households require urgent social assistance.
To address these stark realities, the government introduced the Harmonised Social Cash Transfer System (HSCT) in 2011, catering to those who both live below the food poverty line and are without labour capacity. Targeting is achieved through a proxy means test and implemented by the government in tandem with the private sector. HSCT has managed to streamline and harmonise most of the government social assistance programmes aimed at vulnerable populations, also generating significant gender benefits.
Smart Daniel (HelpAge, Tanzania) then presented Towards a universal pension in Tanzania: Evidence on opportunities and challenges from a remote area – A case study of the Kwa Wazee Pension Programme. Over 12 per cent of the world is over 60 years old and by 2050 it is projected that there will be as many people over 60 as children under 50. Africa’s population over 60 years old is anticipated to be 10 per cent by 2050 representing a significant impending challenge. Yet, only 4 per cent of Tanzania’s 2.5 million elderly receive a pension and many old age people are charged with looking after their grandchildren. The Global AgeWatch Index compares countries in terms of the services they grant to old people. It exposes the dire state of affairs for elderly people in Tanzania, especially in terms of income security. About 30 per cent of women who receive a pension spend it on hired labour and grandchildren. This demonstrates how pensions allow families to connect to other services.
The Kwa Wazee case study exposed how implementing the programme at a national level based on income would be challenging as both pensioners and non-pensioners can be poor. What’s more, targeting was perceived by communities as unfair, generating anxiety. Old people who still work are still vulnerable to even minor shocks, rendering labour a poor targeting indicator too. Therefore there are many inherent challenges to targeting those most in need, providing a clear rationale for the national social pension programme to be universal, even if this starts at 70 years old.
The final presentation of Session 4 was presented by Dr Seddiq Weera (Senior Policy Advisor to the Ministry of Education, Afghanistan) providing insight into the context of Afghanistan. He recognised how since 2001 the country has been attempting to recover from war, poverty and inequity. Moreover, 42 per cent of Afghans live below the poverty line and 55 per cent of households are in debt (average of US$1400). Only 2 per cent of households are female headed and 30 per cent receive insufficient calorie intake, with 4.6 million people being food insecure (18 per cent). He noted that 48 per cent of girls attend primary school, while only 17 per cent of adult women are literate. Health care access is vastly skewed between urban (76 per cent) and rural (33 per cent) areas. Thus social protection reforms have been laid out by the Afghan government. They are expected to institute a social protection floor and expand a range of social protection instruments catering to the poor, vulnerable and excluded populations.
Panel Session 1
Panel Session 1 was dedicated to Strengthening promotive social protection, chaired by the Dr Seddiq Weera (Senior Policy Advisor to the Ministry of Education, Afghanistan).
Insight into Community savings groups: Evidence of contributions to poverty reduction among MVC households in Tanzania was granted via video link by Colleen Green (DAI, Tanzania). Voluntary community savings groups (CSGs) are groups of 15-20 people that save together to form a loan fund. It is an important mechanism for self-managed insurance and savings. The Pamoja Tuwalee CSG, implemented by 4 international organisations and more than 80 local partners, supports over 5000 saving groups in Tanzania. The rationale is that access to basic savings improves child care thereby providing social protection to vulnerable children.
Studies of CSG’s highlighted how savings improve food security and family nutrition, reduce isolation and stigma of the poor as well as improve health expenditure. Changes in Household Hunger saw substantial shifts, with severe hunger almost being eliminated. Monthly savings were also improved. Consequently, Green submitted that this approach should be promoted as a social protection and development tool.
Prof. Flora Kessy (Mzumbe University, Tanzania) then presented on the Potential for community level social grants as a promotive social protection measure. It has been established that grants can transform rural communities and allow beneficiaries to accumulate assets. Women have been found to successfully manage their grants, investing in business (agriculture and livestock) and revolving loans to access further loans. Furthermore, Tanzanian grants have seen substantial growth in women starting restaurants or food vending services, as well as purchasing motorcycles or bicycles and other productive assets. Therefore promotive social protection is a catalyst for economic growth and poverty reduction, improving labour productivity and asset accumulation.
The final presentation of Parallel session 1 was Does social protection lead to social inclusion? The debate and evidence from Kenya’s urban informal settlements by Caleb M Wafula (Kenyatta University, Kenya). Kenya’s urban informal settlements are highly affected by shocks and stresses. Wafula gave insight into the impacts of loans of Kenya’s Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF), which is instituted throughout the country. It was found to provide necessary capital for take-off in start-up businesses. It also renders youths less reliant on friends and family for loans.
However 90 per cent of participants do not save on account of the loan being too small to make a meaningful impact. Small positive impacts were found with respect to food security. Beneficiaries are able to be trained in various areas such as enterprise development however there is a problem in Kenya with school dropout rates and poor literacy making this component of the initiative a challenge. It was also found to aid young mothers who are often the sole breadwinners in Kenya. Therefore although the Fund has created positive impacts, there is need for further innovation to provide more robust opportunities for the youth of Kenya’s urban informal settlements.
Thus day 2 of the Conference provided exceptional insight into sectoral responsibilities and implementation best practices and challenges as well as shed light on exceptional examples of the impact and success social protection programmes have the capacity to achieve for the poor and vulnerable in Africa.
Author: Ashleigh Kate Slingsby, UNDP’s International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG)
Short URL: http://pressroom.ipc-undp.org/?p=16783