By Olimatou Coker
The National Nutrition Agency (NaNA)and partners Sunday commenced a six days countrywide tour to gauge the impact of monies distributed under the Social Safety Net Project (SSNP). The team held its first training session on Sunday for its steering committee members at the regional health directorate in Basse.
Addressing the meeting, Samba Bah, the governor of Upper River Region (URR), expressed delight for being trusted to host the meeting. This, he added, demonstrates the cooperation and the steering committee’s commitment to fulfill its various tasks.
Dr Amat Bah, project coordinator SSNP who doubles as the executive director of NaNA, said the capacity building and field visit will enable the committee members to receive first-hand information about the project.
He said the project has three components dealing with the establishment of the GamSR secretariat, Nafa cash transfer and social and behavioural change when it comes to communication, management and capacity building.
Dr Bah said the project supported by the World Bank is poised to be one of the most successful projects in the history of the country.
“There is no World Bank project that has been rated so high and that is one of the reasons why we have this project. If you do well with your projects, resources will flow in. We have taken this project very seriously because of the potential for social safety because that is what donors are interested in. That’s why when we were asked to coordinate this project; we took it very seriously because we knew the potential of social protection as far as alleviating poverty is concerned,” he said.
He said the project will ensure nutrition and alleviate poverty and malnutrition.
“What we are doing is to get those households out of poverty and help them to get good health and nutrition status. We have done so well that the World Bank is now negotiating to close the project this year and link it with another project so that we can continue to benefit from funding,” he added.
Mrs Cordu Jabang Senghore, permanent secretary at the office of the vice president, said social protection is “a set of interventions that aim to reduce and eliminate poverty, vulnerability and risks”. “The social protection programme supports productivity, inclusiveness as well as coping mechanisms for risks and shocks,” she added.
She said through the social protection programme, the government and its partners will be able to mitigate the risks that are faced by individuals and communities, support the vulnerable, and provide families with resources to be able to secure their basic needs during emergencies and at times of economic difficulties.
“Social protection also helps in fighting social exclusion by empowering the vulnerable members of society to be more productive and contribute to socio-economic development of the society. That said, I want to assure you of our office’s continuous collaboration and support in improving the quality of life of the most vulnerable groups in The Gambia,” she said.