Lesotho, 14 April 2014: Findings of the Child Grants Programme Impact Evaluation welcomed by Policy makers
14 April 2014, Lesotho – The findings of the Lesotho Child Grants Programme (CGP) Impact Evaluation and Fiscal Sustainability study presented to members of Parliament, Senior Government Officials, representatives of Civil Society Organizations and media revealed that CGP has contributed to overall child wellbeing including reduced burden of illness, increased the levels of expenditure on schooling, food, clothing and footwear for approximately 65,000 children residing in over 20, 000 ultra-poor households in all 10 districts of Lesotho.
Addressing participants at this meeting, the UNICEF Representative, Dr. Tesfaye Shiferaw, highlighted that the outcomes CGP showed that investing in social protection is important for addressing vulnerabilities and inequalities in society.
He added that UNICEF is encouraged to be associated with this child focused intervention which contributes to building the resilience of vulnerable populations, especially the ultra-poor living in hard to reach areas.
“Due to its success, Government has taken over the benefit costs of the CGP as well as 70% of its operational costs and is committed to expanding its coverage further,” he said.
Speaking at the same meeting, Mr. Theo Kaspers, a representative of the European Union, highlighted that the success of CGP is widely recognized in sub-Saharan Africa. He reiterated the commitment of the European Union to support Lesotho with the third phase of the programme aimed at developing an integrated system of social protection.
The Minister of Social Development in Lesotho, Mrs. Matebatso Doti, said the findings of the impact evaluation will help Lesotho in its endeavour to develop a comprehensive social protection system for the country
“The findings should not only be looked at in the context of the CGP, but should be viewed in the context of the bigger picture of social protection in Lesotho”, she said.
The findings of the CGP Impact Evaluation and Fiscal Sustainability revealed that beneficiary households use the funds in the interest of the children’s wellbeing resulting in significant reductions in children’s morbidity rate, school drop outs and increase in birth registration, and school enrollment.
The findings further reveal that the CGP has increased protection against food insecurity by improving the ability of households to access food over the course of the year. According to the findings, CGP has reduced the number of months during which households’ experienced extreme shortages of food over the past year by 1.7 months.
The findings also highlight that at community level the CPG has contributed to lessening children’s vulnerabilities especially in situations where children from poor households often have drop out of school and are forced to seek employment in an effort to help families survive.
Participants welcomed the findings which they said pave the way for the development of a common social protection systems that address poverty and vulnerability in Lesotho.
About the Child Grants Programme
The CGP is a non-conditional social cash transfer targeted to poor and vulnerable households. The programme started in 2009 and was piloted until 2011 with financial and technical support from EU and UNICEF respectively.
The objective of the CGP is to improve the living standards of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC’s) as well as to reduce malnutrition, improve health status, and increase school enrolment among the OVC’s. The programme is run by the Ministry of Social Development, with financial support from the European Commission and technical support from UNICEF-Lesotho.
In 2013, Government of Lesotho took over the responsibility of paying all beneficiaries of the Child Grants Programmes. Approximately USD4 million from the national recurrent budget has been ear-marked this.
The grant amount is based on the number of children within qualified households: M360 for households with 1-2 children, M600 for households with 3-4 children and M750 for households with 5 children or more. (1 Loti ~ USD10.00).
As of March 2014, the CGP reached ultra-poor households in 21,800 households and provided benefits for approximately 65,000 children across 10 districts in Lesotho.
For more information please contact:
Ousmane Niang, Chief Social Policy UNICEF Lesotho (email@example.com),
Malume Mohale, Communication Specialist UNICEF Lesotho (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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