Gov’t Targets One Million People for Social Services, Social Cash Transfer

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Mrs. Saydee-Tarr (right) shares copies of the signed documents with Dr. Daniel Asare-Kyei (left).

The Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection (MGCSP) has signed a contract with Esoko to collect social data in four of 15 counties, which aims  to qualify ‘extremely poor people’ for social services, and social cash transfer. The program will be supported by government and partners.

Gender Minister, Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr, disclosed on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 during the signing of a data collection contract between the government and Esoko, held at the Gender Ministry in Monrovia.

Mrs. Saydee-Tarr said government will use the information largely collected for social development. She however described the initiative as the first in Liberia’s history that government will setup a registry, specifically dedicated to social data information issues, and directly concentrated on the poorest of the poor. The four counties targeted for the exercise are Nimba, Maryland, Bong and Bomi.

“As we gather here for a new data collection contract, recertification of our former beneficiaries of social cash is currently taking place in Grand Kru and Maryland counties. At the end of the recertification in the coming weeks, our social cash team will be giving out cash to about 4,000 households in two counties,” Mrs. Saydee-Tarr said.

According to her, the ministry will play its part, while holding the Esoko accountable for their responsibilities under the contract adding, the program currently targets one million people in the targeted communities (four counties.)

“This work is in the interest of the poor and needy, because their hopes and aspirations to receive government’s intervention is tied to the quality of data you will produce,” she said.

She then expressed gratitude to the World Bank and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for their support, assuring the partners that the data from these counties will clearly inform government about the number of the ‘extremely poor’ and food insecure communities.

The Social Registry will support and host the database architecture of all households. It is expected to provide the initial building block of an efficient social protection system that will reduce duplication and improve effectiveness of the social protection sector in reaching the poorest households.

Esoko chief executive officer, Dr. Daniel Asare-Kyei, said poverty cannot be determined by looking at people faces, but there has to be a systematic process to determine whether the people are poor or not.

Such a system will assist government to handle some of the problems and will be the beginning of many good things to come.

According to Mr. Asare-Kyei, the program is being carried out in more than 20 countries in Africa, including Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Burkina Faso and Tanzania, and remains to extend the initiative to Liberia.

He said the program will create jobs for Liberians through recruitment and training despite the activities being spearheaded by a Ghanaian company.

Ms. Vaiba Flomo, manager of the Social Registry Unit at MGCSP, said in 2013, the Government of Liberia launched an interim five-year strategy, the Agenda for Transformation (AfT), which identified social protection as a key aspect of the government’s development agenda.

The sector aims to improve protection for the poorest communities, most vulnerable households and groups from poverty, deprived and hungry to enhance resilience to risk and shocks. The Social Registry is an information system that includes data as well as MIS function to transform that data, according to basic business processes for delivering social assistance.

Madam Flomo said the activities will help to establish the key building block of a basic national safety net delivery system and provide income support to households, who are both extremely poor and food insecure in the country.

“The system established is expected to benefit other government social protection programs, as well as interventions opened by collaborating development partners,” she said.

11 COMMENTS

  1. There we go again! When will we come to the realization that these initiatives only foster a culture of dependency and leave our society with individuals who only wait for handouts/reliefs? And why is a foreign firm (Esoko) collecting social data when Liberia has demographers and social statisticians?

    • My dear, you took the words from my mouth. This initiative, as you correctly identified is not a Liberian one, it is sponsored by the World Bank and USAID. This is welfare and we all know how it decimated families and communities in the US. If this initiative was only focused in the capital where it is overcrowded and where some citizens don’t have available land to live off of, I would understand. But why take to interior where there is ample land? You also right, this will make worse the culture of dependency that is so prevalent in our country. In my county capital of Fishtown, almost every citizen has left village and moved to Fishtown. The price of produce has increased to the point where they have to import pepper from neighboring Ivorian towns and villages. Very disappointing.

    • While I understand your concerns, it is too simplistic to say that such a program will increase dependency without data to support your assertions. There are a myriad of reasons including poor health, lack of resources for example, why some people are incapable of growing food to feed themselves. Also, people are migrating to cities because there are no government services in those villages and towns and people are seeking a better quality of life. So, if we want villagers to stay on the farms, then the government needs to architect smart programs to encourage farming. Consider if you had to walk 10 miles to the nearest town/city to see a doctor. Would it make sense to continue living in your village or move to the nearest city where it’s more convenient? A rational person will move.

  2. Social cash team will be giving out cash? Again? Have you forgotten what happened to the 25 million mop up cash that was taken into the streets to give to business people?
    What is wrong with these people?
    Please put the funds in a bank and let beneficiaries collect money through a well defined process.
    Why are we always involved in these broad day stealing initiatives?

  3. Ok here it is! If one person collecting this data in these counties is corrupt he will sin up his mother father brother sisters uncles aunt and make a killing WATCH OUT IT HAPPENED WITH THE $25 million

    • Dishonesty is a disease in Liberian society. Liberians view every government initiative as an opportunity to “lick their hands” as they say back home. It’s a very corrupt culture and it will never end until there are consequences like going to prison. The folks back home don’t think it’s a bad thing to steal because even the President steals. Citizens take cues from their higher ups. There is no deterrent against corruption in Liberia so what would prevent someone from stealing? Nothing. If I stole in America, you bet I’ll be punished. Steal in Liberia, especially if it’s a lot of money and you’re celebrated for being smart and you’ll never step foot in a jail. You can bribe the judge, and government prosecutor and that’ll be the end of it.

  4. Can someone please interpret this for those of us who are stupid? “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”.

  5. Basically, the company just collect data. I want to know who owns this company and if they have relations to any government official/officials. Because, it seems like this is just a way to rob the Liberian people in broad daylight. Considering the corrupt nature of Liberians in power, this cash transfer program will never work.

  6. How can this collection of demographic and social data be the first of it’s kind in Liberia?

    Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-information Services (LISGIS) does regular surveys on Household Income and Expenditure (HIES).

    LISGIS survey report of 2014 noted that 2.1 million Liberians who were unable to meet their basic food and non food needs and that 18 percent of this population lives in extreme poverty.

    When people learn to rely on relief, it gives them a false sense of stability as relief is usually temporary.

    Stop the wastage of our meagre resources we have as a nation and focus on projects that are meaningful, sustainable and impactful. Please teach our people how to fish.

  7. I think basically, the company just collect data. I want to know who owns this company and if they have relations to any government official/officials. Because, it seems like this is just a way to rob the Liberian people in broad daylight. Considering the corrupt nature of Liberians in power, this cash transfer program will never work.

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