Integrated social protection programme for children with disabilities - Hama Governorate
Key highlights - Post-distribution monitoring survey, Hama Governorate, May 2022
This report provides the key findings of the post-distribution monitoring survey, which was conducted in October 2021 among families of children with disabilities who benefitted from the Integrated Social Protection Programme for Children with Disabilities in Hama Governorate. The programme provides regular and unconditional cash transfers together with case management services for children living with severe disabilities. It is implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour (MOSAL) through a network of specialized national non-governmental organizations.
The objectives of the survey were to: (i) understand the socio-economic characteristics of families benefiting from the programme; (ii) assess the effectiveness, efficiency and impact of the programme following three months of implementation; and (iii) collect feedback about beneficiaries’ perceptions of and satisfaction with the programme.
The survey provides a wealth of information about the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of families, as well as the positive impact of the programmme for children with disabilities. Key highlights include:
(i) High levels of poverty: The average monthly expenditure of families was SYP 343,000, well below the value of the Minimum Expenditure Basket required by families to meet their basic needs. Food and debt repayment accounted for 50 per cent of families’ monthly expenditures.
(ii) High levels of vulnerability among female-headed families: (a) Female-headed families depend much more heavily on charity, borrowing, remittances and sale of assets as their most important source of income than male-headed families (ten times more in Hama and seven times more in Rural Damascus); (b) female-headed families are over-represented in the lower income categories: twice as many female-headed families than male-headed families reported that their monthly income was less than SYP 200,000 in both governorates.
(iii) High levels of education exclusion among children with disabilities: 60 per cent of children with disabilities have never attended school or any other form of education compared to 9 cent among children without disabilities in the families.
(iv) Strong positive impact of the programme on increasing access to essential services for children with disabilities, particularly in the health sector: A large share of the cash transfer was spent on health (26 per cent). As a result of the combination of case management and cash assistance, following three months of enrollment in the programme, 33 and 12 per cent of children had received specialized and basic health care for the first time, respectively. In Hama, seven per cent of children had also gained access to specialized education and another 2 per cent to formal education for the first time.
(v) Strong positive impact of the programme on improving children’s ownership of disability card: Following three months of participa¬tion in the programme, an additional 7 per cent of children had obtained a card and another 11 per cent were in the process of obtaining one. Combined, this will bring the proportion of children enrolled in the programme who own a disability card to over 90 per cent in Hama.
(vi) Need to increase the frequency and amount of cash assistance and improve beneficiaries’ satisfaction in this regard: While beneficiaries expressed a relatively high level of satisfaction with the proximity of the financial service provider (FSP), their satisfaction with the frequency and amount of the cash transfer was lower. Two-thirds of families reported that the cash transfer helped cover the needs of children with disabilities only “moderately”. The amount of the transfer has remained the same since the programme started at the of end 2016 and has not kept up with inflation. There is also a need to introduce more frequent transfers (from every three months to every two months minimum), though this will depend on a greater availability of FSPs in the governorates.