Social policy and monitoring & evaluation
Enabling social protection systems for every child
In 2019, Guinea-Bissau was at the 178th position in the human development index (HDI) out of 189 countries and territories considered, with an average index (0.455) well below the average of the countries of sub-saharan africa (0.537).
Women and children are particularly exposed to poverty and vulnerability. An analysis jointly conducted by UNICEF and UNDP in 2017 revealed that 58% of households are multidimensionally poor while 97 per cent of children are deprived in at least one fundamental right. The majority of the population lacks support for human and social development in the country. In general, the population does not benefit from formal social protection mechanisms, despite the enormous needs in this area. In this sense, formal social protection benefits, such as health insurance and pension system, continue to be a privilege of a small portion of the population (usually civil servants and few workers in formal private sector).
Social protection is one of the priority areas for the country's development. However, given the weak capacity of government, non-state actors play a key role in delivering social assistance including health and education services, especially in rural areas. Decades of instability and weak governance have placed Guinea-Bissau at the 10 lowest levels in terms of quality of public service provision, according to the World Bank's Governance Indicators (WGI). With the support of UNICEF and other partners such as the World Bank, Guinea-Bissau seeks to develop a comprehensive policy and strategy to implement new guidelines of administrative and institutional laws and regulations on social protection to improve its coverage and protect its citizens.
As the World Bank established a new country partnership framework with Guinea-Bissau in 2017, the first full country strategy since 1997, closer partnership was established between UNICEF and the World Bank, in line with the global agreement, focusing on education, child and maternal health, nutrition and female genital mutilation (FGM). Social protection was positioned as one of the three priorities of the UN-World Bank humanitarian-development nexus programme approved in 2017. Despite a modest allocation of US$ 100 000, it is significant for a country which is yet to develop a coherent social protection programme.
In this favourable context, UNICEF initiated discussions with development partners and the Government on social protection, an area where little has been achieved so far. As a result of this advocacy efforts, UNICEF and the World Bank together with the World Food Programme supported the first policy dialogue on social protection through the organization of a national Forum, which resulted in the development of a roadmap to guide the formulation of a national social protection strategy. The forum, organised in October 2017, gathered more than 60 participants and served as a platform to review existing programmes and studies and to draw up recommendations for the national social protection policy formulation.
Following the forum, national capacity development was initiated to ensure a country-owned and country-led policy development process. More than 80 governmental and non-governmental actors were trained on basic and advanced social protection concepts. The sustainability of social protection capacity development was ensured through the participation of three national staff to a training of trainers for Lusophone countries. In addition, a comprehensive diagnostic study was started in 2018 and finalized in early 2019.
Mostly children are subject to shocks throughout their lives that can diminish their well-being. Social protection policies and measures will mitigate the impacts of these shocks to grow safe and protected children.