Policy formulation, implementation and practice on the ground sometimes tend to disconnect. The envisioned good and the attendant benefits sometimes seem to fail to converge. Particularly in Social Protection programmes, challenges emerge right from the design stage, selection of beneficiaries and the roll out of the programmes. This is normally the case where programmes are targeted because of limited resources ending up with exclusion and inclusion errors. These errors refer to beneficiaries who are deserving of the benefits missing out on them and those not deserving being included, respectively. A monitoring and evaluation exercise is therefore crucial to ensure effectiveness and efficiency of the programme. Save the Children (Sweden) - ECAF, through the Africa Platform for Social Protection provided funding for a research on Children’s Protection Policies and Rights in Rwanda. The research area is one which is of particular interest to the African Union’s Department of Social Affairs. A validation meeting for the research held between 8th and 11th August 2012, was attended by the APSP’s Executive Director, Dr. Tavengwa Nhongo.

The research which was commissioned by the Rwanda Civil Society Platform (RCSP) assessed child protection policies, programs and interventions in the country. The relevance of the study was geared towards looking at gaps between child protection processes (policies, legal framework and intervention) and the reality on the ground. The entire process serves to create awareness on what is going on, on the ground, as well as in informing key policy design questions. In addition, the findings allow for the development of engagement strategies with the relevant stakeholders. The meeting that saw twenty seven (27) participants in all, drew representation from civil society, government, international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Care, Handicap International, Plan, UNICEF etc.

On the report, Dr. Nhongo pointed out that unfortunately Africa had become notorious for developing excellent policies which gather dust on shelves, expressing hope that this particular report would catalyse action. However, for this to occur there needs to be collaboration among government departments as well as from the Civil Society. He reiterated the need to finalise the document ensuring that government buys in and owns the report. The process should then move to the use of recommendations from the report and sharing of the document to all stakeholders. It is very encouraging to note that this ground breaking report has been well received by different organizations which have read the preliminary draft and started employing sections of the report. UNICEF for instance has undertaken to support in making the report more concise, whereas Plan International has undertaken to carry out further assessments based on the report. Most encouraging is the fact that government has already began including policy amendments some of which were concluded in April 2012 for instance in the closure of a prison that mixed adults and children.

The report will be subjected to a final validation meeting that will draw in senior government officials as well as interested stakeholders. This exercise will come before the dissemination of the document to the general public. APSP’s hopes that the report will serve as a learning document for not only other platforms but also for governments which are seeking to engage in a similar process in respect to Social Protection policies and programmes, geared towards children. One such opportunity would be during the East African Exchange Workshop slated for later on this year in Rwanda, an event that allows different countries from the region to share experiences and practice in Social Protection. The Southern African Exchange Workshop is slated for September 2012 in Malawi.

RCSP in line with the report’s recommendations are developing a proposal to be submitted to UNICEF looking at key advocacy activities scheduled for the recent future. The full details of the report will be available on our website as soon as the report is launched, keep it here for more details.

 

The National Budget gives a good indication of how government prioritizes sectors and programs in its planning for development. Social Protection is an area of poverty reduction that looks at the interests of the most poor and vulnerable in the country. The Living Conditions Monitoring Survey which monitors the living situation of the population reveals that a total of 60 percent of Zambia’s population are poor. And of these, 42 percent are extremely poor. Extreme poverty means that their incomes cannot afford to deliver a meal on the table for that household. Looking at the national budget for 2013 delivered by Finance Minister, Alexander Chikwanda as the first PF budget has very telling allocations which reveal where Government interest is in regard to poverty reduction.

Despite Zambia experiencing fairly high rates of economic growth in the past ten years, it has among the highest rates of inequality with a gini coefficient as high as 54 percent. The Gini Index is an internationally defined standard measure of inequality. This level of inequality only means that the market driven strategies of development have not done much to reduce poverty and inequality among the Zambian population.

Against the backdrop of undistributed economic growth, changing fiscal conditions, inflationary and political pressure, finance minister Alexander Chikwanda presented the 2012-13Budget. Though he reduced spending by the executive, he increased funding for defence. The budget was a heart-break for social assistance but it did allow a marginal increase to social assistance programs. This analysis considers the Budget component on Social protection:

Why Invest in Social Protection?

Social protection can have a positive impact on growth in anumber of ways. It can finance investment in health and education, protect assets thathelp people earn an income, encourage risk taking, promote participation in the labourmarket, and ease the pain of economic transition. There are inevitably trade-offs. Social protection, in reducing povertyand inequality, can also lead to greater social unity and a more stable environment forindividuals to work, save and invest. Social protection is a potentially important part of a strategy toincrease sustainable, poverty-reducing gfrowth.

Social Protection Budget Analysis

The Social Protection Budget accounts for 2.77 percent of the entire National Budget for 2013. In terms of rank, Social Protection is 15th out of 22 line items in share of national budget. This reveals a drop in comparison to 2012 when Social Protection received the 12th highest allocation of the National Budget. This means that although the nominal value to Social Protection has increased in 2013, the share in relation to national budget has reduced.

2012-2013 Rank based table of government allocation by Function

2012 Expenditure by Function

% of Govt Budget

Allocation (K’ Billion)

 2013 Expenditure by Function

% of Govt Budget

Allocation (K’ Billion)

Grand Total

100.00

27,698.30

Grand Total

100.00

          32,212.20

General Public Services Executive

29.98

8,304.80

Economic Affairs

27.62

            8,897.00

Economic Affairs

29.32

8,120.00

General Public Services Executive

26.20

            8,441.10

General Government Services

26.72

7,400.50

General Government Services

18.83

            6,064.70

Education

17.51

4,850.50

Education

17.47

            5,626.80

Transport

16.82

4,658.80

Transport

13.63

            4,392.10

Health

9.31

2,579.90

Health

11.29

            3,638.10

Agriculture Forestry and Fishing

6.13

1,698.00

Defence

6.32

            2,035.60

Defence

5.95

1,648.50

Agriculture Forestry and Fishing

5.79

            1,865.40

Fuel and Energy

4.95

1,369.70

Fuel and Energy

4.49

            1,445.00

Public Order and Safety

3.67

1,017.40

Public Order and Safety

4.18

            1,347.00

Executive

3.09

856.1

Executive

3.17

            1,020.40

Social Protection

2.37

655.6

Housing and Community Amenities

3.13

            1,007.80

Legislation

2.15

594.7

General Economic, Commercial and labour

2.88

               926.80

Centralised Administrative Services

1.31

362.5

Social Protection

2.77

               892.20

Housing and Community Amenities

1.27

352.9

Legislation

2.00

               643.50

General Economic, Commercial and labour

0.96

266.1

Centralised Administrative Services

1.26

               405.70

Recreation, Culture and Religion

0.49

136.9

Recreation, Culture and Religion

0.78

               252.30

Tourism

0.19

52.6

Communications

0.38

               122.70

Communications

0.14

39

Mining

0.25

                 81.20

Environment Protection

0.11

31.8

Environment Protection

0.23

                 74.20

Mining

0.00

 

Tourism

0.20

                 63.80

 

Social Protection includes a number of programs aimed at reducing the effects of poverty suffered by the poorest in Zambia. The allocation towards social Protection in 2013 isK892.2 billion. This shows an increase by 236 billion from the K 655.6 that was allocated to Social Protectionin 2012. The total allocation to social protection in the 2013 budget is 36.1% higher than the previous budget. This is a commendable upward adjustment and reflects a level of commitment to the welfare of the poor and vulnerable in Zambia. However, an actual analysis of the way the figures are distributed within the allocation to Social protection is what constitutes the major concern for poverty reduction efforts.

Of the SP budget K616.90 is dedicated to Public Pension servicing. This represents a nominal increase of 142.70 billion ZMK in 2013. However, as a percentage share of the total Social Protection allocation, the share to Public Service pension has reduced from 72 percent in 2012 to 69% in 2013;representing a 3 percentage point drop in share of Public Service Pension servicing. This reduction in significance of pension servicing translates into an increased share for tax financed social assistance programs. However, the 3 %age point inrease is not sufficient to address the high incidence of poverty and vulnerability. By implication, still over 2/3 of the SP budget in 2013 goes to servicing pension arrears.

The allocation to Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) in 2012 is 30.1% higher and the allocation to Social Cash Transfers has been increased by 51% from 55 billion in 2012 to 83.1 in 2013.  See table below

2012 Expenditure by Function

Allocation (K’ Billion)

% of Govt Budget

 2013 Expenditure by Function

Allocation (K’ Billion)

% change

% of Govt Budget

%age point increase as share of budget

%age point decrease as share of budget

Growth Social Protection

655.6

2.37

Social Protection

                          892.20

36.1%

2.77

0.40

 

           o/w Public Service Pension Fund

474.2

1.71

           o/w Public Service Pension Fund

                          616.90

30.1%

1.92

0.20

 

                   Social Cash Transfer

55

0.20

                   Social Cash Transfer

                            83.10

51.1%

0.26

0.06

 

Grand Total

27,698.30

100.00

Grand Total

                     32,212.20

16.3%

100.00

0.00

0.00

 

Of the balance of the allocation for SP, K83.1 billion, is allocated to Social Cash Transfers reflecting an increase of ZMK 28.1 Billion from 2012. The balance of 192.2 billion is distributed among several Social Assistance Programs including the Food Security Pack, Public Welfare Assistance Scheme, Street Children’s programs, women’s empowerment fund, School Feeding Program, etc. This represents a paltry 22% of the total social Protection budget spread across a number of important social assistance programs. This gives a reflection of token recognition of such programs.

What the amount means to Poverty Reduction

The SNDP outlines the target beneficiaries for tax financed social assistance programs as low capacity and incapacitated households. Incapacitated households generally lack the ability to move themselves out of poverty and are not reached by mainstream economic growth. The draft social protection strategy estimates that 10% of the Zambian population is incapacitated and 20% is vulnerable. With the current allocation to the social safety nets, if the 10% were reached universally, it implies that;

The population of incapacitated people is therefore: 1,304, 650.8. (ie. 10% of the Zambian population)The total budget allocation to social safety nets has this implication on the population of incapacitated people: ZMK 275,300,000,000.00/1, 304, 650.8= ZMK 211,014.32. This translates to a per capita benefit level ofZMK 211,014.32 for each incapacitated person in the nation on an annual basis. On a monthly basis this translates to ZMK 17,584.53 to a household. If on the other hand the 20% vulnerable were targeted this would cut the per capita benefit level by half. This level of low allocations to the extreme poor may be an important pointer to why the country is not recording a significant reduction in rural and extreme poverty levels as reflected in the Living Conditions Monitoring Survey of 2010.

Conclusion

The Budget as it stands bears the risk of leaving out the poorest and most marginalized of the Zambian population. With a share of 2.77 percent of the national budget addressing the needs of 42 percent of the population, poverty for them will not reduce significantly. This means that the 2013 budget has not made a significant dent in redistributive equity. While the slight increase in allocation to the Social Protection budget is commendable, the level of increase does not reflect true concern for the situation of the poor and vulnerable in our society. With this in mind, Government will struggle to achieve MDG 1 which intends to reduce extreme poverty and hunger by 2015. Poverty and hunger have a huge effect on the productivity and cognitive ability of a population and if this is not addressed, Government will continually have to invest in measures that are curative rather than preventive in addressing poverty.

 

The Uganda platform. for social platform

met the Parliamentary Forum on Social Protection at Parliament on Friday, 17th August, 2012 with the aim of lobbying government to allocate more funds for ongoing Social Protection Programmes, especially the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE). The meeting; chaired by Hon. Flavia Kabahende; was attended by 15 Members of Parliament and 32 representatives of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). In his brief remarks, Dr Tavengwa Nhongo, the Executive Director of the APSP, began on a light note congratulating Uganda for winning the gold medal in the marathon during the London Olympics. He also took the opportunity to thank the Parliamentary Forum for agreeing to meet the CSO’s and for listening to their concerns. He pointed out that Social Protection is a right, as enshrined in international and continental declarations, conventions and charters, that include the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights and the 1981 African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. He mentioned that the Social Protection discourse was talking place in nearly 40 countries of Africa but countries were at different levels of implementation of programmes, commending the Ugandans for the great strides they have taken in implementing the programmes in the different districts.

He noted that the implementation of programmes on SP and the provision of government funding was a matter of political will. Every government can afford to put in place some Social Protection programmes for their citizens. He gave examples of Lesotho, Zambia, Kenya and Rwanda where governments were making commendable strides in setting up programmes for their people. He noted that Lesotho, for instance, implemented their programme against the advice of international donors in 2004 and continues to manage it up to now. Alfred Nuamanya, the Chairman of the Uganda Platform for Social Protection, outlined the concerns of Ugandan CSO’s which were contained in the statement that had been issued in the print and electronic media. All the Parliamentarians present agreed that Social Protection was important and that the government should make urgent steps to implement programmes. They resolved to lobby their colleagues, Ministers and His Excellency, the President to seek ways in which funding for the ongoing SAGE can be secured and increased with the aim of rolling out nationally.

 

This is a great read and especially where examples from Brazil and Ethiopia are sited as good practices that can be replicated in Kenya. One thing that should have been accentuated together with the importance of systems and structure, is Political Will. The Social Protection Policy, took years before both consensus was built among various stakeholders and adopted. Key to discussions around Social Protection upscaling is how is it attractive to policy makers and treasury as a whole? The reason pilots and research persist is because of evidence building. Social Protection is often misconstrued as a hand-out because many interpret it as an opportunity cost for government that draw from the productive segments of public which often regard the programmes as not directly impacting them. The article clearly points to the benefit of inclusive growth and development. However, politics do play a crucial role in how programmes are designed and who they target. There is definitely an opportunity to integrate economic and political objectives to Social Protection without overlooking the importance of protecting the most vulnerable in society. Africa is of course a political continent, and context matters, for instance a rights based approach to Social Protection is one way to approach this issue. Another way would be to look at the accrued benefits to government as they roll out Social Protection Programmes. Issues like inclusive development bolster peace which is good for the economy, building of micro-economic stability, acceleration of aggregate demand, improving income security, better coping mechanisms to risks and shocks, increasing government legitimacy etc. Kenya specifically is about to elect the fourth president of the republic, with campaigns getting heated up, perhaps Social Protection can be touted as an agenda item for the succeeding regime

The Uganda Platform for Social Protection met the Parliamentary Forum on Social Protection at Parliament on Friday, 17th August, 2012 with the aim of lobbying government to allocate more funds for the ongoing Social Protection Programmes, especially the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE).

 

The meeting; chaired by Hon. Flavia Kabahende; was attended by 15 Members of Parliament and 32 representatives of Civil Society Organisations. In his brief remarks, Dr Tavengwa Nhongo, the Executive Director of the APSP, congratulated Uganda for winning the gold medal in the marathon during the London Olympics and thanked the Parliamentary Forum for agreeing to meet the CSO’s and for listening to their concerns. He said that Social Protection was a right as enshrined in all international and continental declarations, conventions and charters that include the Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the African Union’s Charter on Human and People’s Rights. He mentioned that the Social Protection discourse was talking place in nearly 40 countries of Africa but countries were at different levels of implementation of programmes. Commending the Ugandans for the great strides it has taken in implementing the programmes in the different districts. He noted that the implementation of programmes on SP and the provision of government funding was a matter of political will. Every government can afford to put in place some Social Protection programmes for their citizens. He gave examples of Lesotho, Zambia, Kenya and Rwanda where governments were making strides in setting up programmes for their people. He noted that Lesotho, for instance, implemented their programme against the advice of the international donors in 2004 but is still managing it up to now.

 

Alfred Nuamanya, the Chairman of the Uganda Platform for Social Protection, outlined the concerns of Ugandan CSO’s which were contained in the statement that had been issued in the print and electronic media.

 

All the Parliamentarians present agreed that Social Protection was important and that the government should make urgent steps to implement programmes. They were going to lobby their colleagues, Ministers and His Excellency, the President to seek ways in which funding for the ongoing SAGE can be secured and then push for the rolling out of the SAGE nationally.

A week has passed since we participated in that wonderful team building experience. I can say without doubt that the exercise has had a sustained impact on the staff here at Africa Platform for Social Protection. It was great to spend some time together, but we shared more than that. We shared ideas, reactions, stories, laughs and our personalities in a way that was unrelated to deadlines and the usual workplace conversation. It gave us an opportunity to see how the people we work with everyday interact outside the workplace.

Team building is an intentional act of management that takes time, planning and a little investment. Team building has a lot of advantages and these are some of them

a.       It makes one to be comfortable with a co-worker hence making one confidence and willing to share ideas

b.      Being in a new environment gives one the opportunity to recognize new skills and strengths in other people

c.       It leads to improved communication among the staff members since communication is an asset  that can result in a smoother processes and better result for the organization

Thank you for team building exercise, we learned a great deal about ourselves and each other. We learned about team trust, support and how we can pull together as a team to achieve success   

 

Growing Together

The APSP family held its annual team building exercise in Mombasa, Kenya from 20th – 23rd July 2012. The change in venue provided staff members with a much needed opportunity to interact in an official ‘unofficial’ capacity. Staff members were able to report on goings-on within the organization with different departments taking lead to outline yearly plans, review them and plan for the future. Staff also managed to strategies as a team as well as think up innovative ways to further build organizational capacity including a specific section of how to build cohesion among staff.

 It was not all work though as staff were entreated to a splash in the ocean as well as a city tour which was welcomed by the age old Muslim tradition of Ramadan

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