Lilongwe: Government has expressed optimism that the new Malawi National Social Support Program (MNSSP) 2 will bear desirable fruits as regards the strategy implementation designs it carries.
Laurent Kansinjiro, Deputy Director responsible for Social Welfare (Social Cash Transfer Program) in the Ministry Of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare made the remarks during a Social protection week being held at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe.
He said one of the biggest challenges observed in the past years has been duplication of work from the various interventions due to lack of a unified approach.
As such, most of the social protection interventions were targeting communities on an individual basis. This led to high costs in administering them and lack of harmonization.
But we now have the Unified Beneficiary Registry which we will all be tapping data from in terms of beneficiaries, thereby removing duplication of work in terms of targeting beneficiaries. So by coming together, we are trying to harmonize and achieve efficiency in terms of how we implement these social protection interventions, said Kansinjiro.
The Deputy Director said the Social protection week that started Monday through Friday will also help in raising the profile for the social protection programs in Malawi.
He said this is an area that is usually considered by many as having to do with issues of handouts.
Kansinjiro however, said there is more behind the social support protection services.
This goes beyond just a handout as it is actually for the purposes of enhancing independence amongst our vulnerable, poor and marginalized people in the communities.
So by coming up with this week, we are trying to demystify that misconception that social support protection services is merely a handout, said Kansinjiro.
In his remarks, UNICEF Malawi Chief of Social Policy, Edward Archibald commended government for the leadership that it is showing in social support protection activities.
He said the new MNSSP 2 has a lot of positive content and it brings reflections on what has been achieved in the past years and also intends to bring all stakeholders together.
One important area, he said, was the recognition that there is need to link social support protection beneficiaries with services and secondly the social protection system to link with the humanitarian sector.
He however, said despite promising outcomes; it is difficult to currently estimate the total impact this will bring as this will require extra hard work.
One of the things that the government is doing with UNICEF support is to map the services that exist, train local workers who will visit the beneficiaries’ households and identify what needs and services they want to access might potentially be.
Then these local workers will try to recommend that the beneficiaries attain those services and keep track whether they attain those services and what the impact is, said Archibald.
He however, said some impacts are already there as evidenced by an increased number of kids going to early childhood development centres, people having great awareness about HIV, health and education services.
He said government, stakeholders including UNICEF need to tread careful as it does not just become a long wish list.
The most important thing that needs to happen and which is already occurring is prioritization of what is in the document.
There is need to focus on the most critical things as regards what is achievable in the next 12 or 18 months, and what is achievable in the next three or five years, he said.
One of the pillars in the MNSSP 2 is on consumption support which aims to enhance the effectiveness of the Social Cash Transfer program, public works program and the school meals program.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA