The PSCM-PS, which is the acronym standing for what translates from Portugese into the Mozambique Platform for Social Protection, on the 21st August 2012, convened 40 participants representing Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), research institutions, universities, and religious congregations to reflect on alternative funding opportunities for Basic Social Protection in Mozambique.

 

The creation of a public fund for various social programmes, as well as the introduction of a universal pension for older persons has been an incredible boost to the expansion of Social Protection programmes. In a bid to move the agenda forward, participants looked at the expanding fiscal space with new opportunities for economic growth being discovered and explored. This is being touted as an alternative pursue through which autonomous funding agencies may be established fostering improvements of programs, services and benefits for vulnerable segments of society.

 

One peculiar challenge however, would be how to formalize the informal sector. Like many countries in Africa, Mozambique finds herself with about 80% of the population outside the formal financial systems. According to António Francisco, Director of Investments at IESE, a debacle looms in the setting up of new and modern systems that will try and mainstream this group.

 

In any case, participants acknowledged that it is important to etch in systems that will embed inclusiveness and equity as the economy continues to grow. Economic growth should be met by a fair redistribution of wealth and equal opportunities for all.

 

To ensure a continuity of the dialogue, a technical group will be formed to analyze in depth the issues raised and chart a way forward. This group will be responsible for producing a position paper constituting the advocacy agenda directed towards government with a keen interest on finding alternative sources of funding for Social Protection programmes.

dsc04827Communications and Advocacy are both integral parts of the Social Protection agenda and the Social Actors Forum (SPAF) is surely not taking any chances with their Advocacy Campaign. A mass campaign on Social Protection is set to be launched in the near future that will captivate audiences and bring awareness on Social Protection in general in Kenya. The event is quite hush hush as they do not want to disclose too much too soon. However, the APSP together with other Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and the media were entreated to a previewing session to get an initial reaction of the campaign as well as give their feedback.

The session that was kicked off with a brief on SPAF and Social Protection by National Coordinator Jimmy Lilah and Victor Odero of Concern Worldwide, was a precursor for the actual presentation by the Communications and Marketing Firm Goode Africa Limited. The presentation that was made by Mr. Al Kags, showcased various campaigns to be rolled out to the general public in due course. Participants were excited about the campaigns, and were quick to give feedback which Goode Africa promised to incorporate into the final product. We await with baited breathe for the grand unveiling. We will keep you updated as events unfold

The Kenya Social Protection Sector Review 2012, by Kenya's Ministry of State Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 is now out. The report gives a snap shot of Social Protection in Kenya as well as the challenges and opportunites that have been manifest from conceptualisation and rollout, to future orientation. The document which can be downloaded from our affiliate the Social Protection Actors Forum here is also available in an abridged version known as the Executive Report which can be read here.  We are glad to report that the Sector Review was a collaborative effort that saw government work together with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), International Development Partners as well as representatives from Academia.

To be more specific a Technical Working Group which is named as one of the key contributors to the document and accredited in Annex 5, has our very own Marion Ouma, Programmes Coordinator for APSP, as a member. We are indeed humbled and proud of the input that she has been able to contribute to the Technical Working Group and urge for continued cooperation between government and civil society. We believe that the document can be used as a learning tool by other platforms and indeed countries which can draw from experience and practice.

 

The Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI), in collaboration with the Africa Institute for Health and Development (AIHD), Institute of Developmental Studies, Maastricht Graduate School of Governance and UKAID,  organised for a two weeks training course in Designing and Implementing Social Protection Programmes, in the lovely coastal town of Mombasa, Kenya from 9th – 20th July 2012. The training which brought together participants from as far as Yemen to Sao Tome was an enlightening experience for government officials, civil society organisations as well as international development partners. APSP which was represented by Mr. Edmond Odaba, Programmes Manager, Nancy Dayo, Programmes Officer and Robert Mwanyumba, Advocacy & Communications Coordinator, could only rave about the training. The training which touched on the technical aspects of Social Protection delved into Policy Formulation, Micro-Simulation, Monitoring and Evaluation and Financial Inclusion. The all round training also allowed for specialisation given the fact that different participants had different areas of interest and expertise. The biggest resource however was not only the actual training but also, the sharing of country experiences among participants. A great resource pool was harnessed from different government ministries, different countries, different professionals, personalities and passions. The convergence under Social Protection was indeed a great learning experience.

Social Protection at core remains, as APSP champions, a great means of addressing poverty and vulnerability. What is needed is not merely a transposition of best practices but rather a contextual application of different programmes designed to reduce poverty and bridge the poverty gap. It is then imperative that a concerted effort be realised among the different stakeholders, each playing a complementary role rather than an adversarial role.

It is these opportunities to share and collaborate that build Social Protection programmes and inform the debate on how best to implement Social Protection policies. APSP would like to congratulate all the participants of the course and more especially platform members who also managed to attend and extend a warm and hearty congratulations for their dedication and hard work.

The Annual Delegates Conference that was held in Munyonyo Uganda on the 1st and 2nd November 2012, combined the Annual General Meeting with a Delegates Conference, that drew participants from across Africa to the "Pearl of Africa". The meeting that was held at the Speke Resort and Conference Centre, was a great learning event for delegates who were entreated to presentations that shed light on APSP's work as well as the strategic direction that the organisation is taking. More than that the Annual Delegates Conference was specific in terms of thematic engagement looking at Social Protection and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

Best Practices and Engaging Civil Social Protection Stakeholders

One specific area of emphasis was on how Social Protection is accelerating the achievement of the MDGs, delegates came out clearly to say that the Post-MDG dispensation should see Social Protection play a much more significant role. This role will be addressed through coninuous egagement between Civil Society Organisations (CSO), International Development Partners as well as Governments. In addition, Civil Society Organisations (CSO), felt that the space for engagement between themselves and International Development Partners (IDP) such as Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), European Union (EU), United Nations and the World Bank that were represented during the meeting, could be enhanced.

Clearly , the mapping of Social Protection programmes and policies is crucial to build knowledge on the subject matter, a resolve taken at the meeting and a priority for APSP. This exercise is being epitomised by progress by Rwanda and Zambia on the same. Although, the Rwandan Exercise was entred around Child Protection as compared to the Zambian experience which seeks to map all programmes running in the country. This built on APSPs Peer Exchange and Learning Events, which articulate the importance of building on best practices. Click here to read the Southern Africa Exchange Visit.

Launch of the Report Review

The Annual Delegates Conference over and above providing a great exchange and learning opportunity for delegates, the APSP used it as a platform to launch the Report Review. The Report was launched by the Ugandan Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development Hon. Sulaiman Madada. The colourful get up was just the right note to kick off the Conference. Click here to read and download a full copy of the Review Report

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