Stakeholders review over D1bln Social Safety Net project

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By Oumie Bojang

Stakeholders on the Social Safety Net project have recently converged to discuss better coordination of the over one billion dalasis cash distribution project.

The three days convergence was held in Foni Bwiam and aimed to synergise and share best practices of the 30 million dollar project which is translated into one billion eight hundred fifty-eight million five hundred thousand dalasis.

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The Government of The Gambia received financing from the World Bank for the Social Safety Net Project to the tune of US$30 million with a counterpart funding of US$1 million from the Government of The Gambia.

The Project Development Objective is to improve the coordination of social assistance activities, provide temporal support to rural households in the wake of COVID-19 and increase the inclusion of the extremely poor in the Nafa Program.

The Nafa Program was piloted in three districts before expanding to the remaining 17 districts.

Officials say, since then a lot of activities have been done by the implementing partners. “As part of the efforts for efficient implementation of the project, it is important for the stakeholders to come together at a convergence to discuss issues for better coordination, synergise and share best practices, The convergence avails the partners the opportunity to take stock of what has been accomplished, challenges faced and pave the way forward for effective implementation and use of resources.”

Dr. Amat Bah executive director of NaNA said as far as the processes of this project are concerned “I will say we are successful because in February we did a midterm review by the bank and all indications are that the project is heading towards being satisfactory.

“So far we have registered a lot of positives in terms of alleviating poverty within the extremely poor households that we identified; we’ve seen the progress they made with monies they’ve received. They have invested in small-scale businesses like ruminants, poultry, and gardens even in the schooling of their children among other things”.

Dr. Bah said the project has an evaluation, the baseline has already been done and there will be an end-line evaluation to see the impact the project has on the beneficiaries.

Fatou Gibba director department of community development said the role of her office in the project activities is to help in the mobilisation of communities towards project activities as well as capacity building in terms of IPC networks. Because the project has interpersonal communication committees at the level of the community that is supposed to educate the populace especially those within their jurisdiction on the project activities including the Nafa cash transfer and other related activities such as social behavioral change communication.

“The communities as far as the Nafa program is concerned were identified through a study currently in development called “social registry” under the auspices of the national social protection secretariat Gambia bureau of statistics is assigned to do the data collection and a periodic payment was run where beneficiaries were drawn from to benefit from the project.

Basically in terms of the poverty rate, we are more advantaged than each. This is why the project is piloted in the more disadvantaged communities in the country namely Wuli west in URR, Nianija in CRR, and Foni Bintang Karangnai in WCR she remarked.