Promoting Social Protection for Vulnerable Rural Workers and Membersof their families through Leveraging Cooperative Systems in Africa
(Kenya, Malawi, Cameroon, Ivory Coast)
Agriculture employs between 60 to 80% of the active labour force in Africa. Rural labour is characterized with low social security coverage, if any. Owing to the fact that poverty is more prevalent and at high levels in rural areas, various non-contributory social protection programmes, both in cash and in-kind, are provided by the governments, NGOs and international partners to the most vulnerable persons in these settings. In most cases these programmes are fragmented and not coordinated.
On this front of Social protection, the AU political leaders have set the policy by adopting the Social Protection Plan for the Informal Economy and Rural Workers (SPIREWORK). Then in view of linking SPIREWORK to the processes of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), a Document on Mainstreaming SPIREWORK into the CAADP was adopted. In addition, the CAADP Results Framework (2014-2025) defines specific targets on social protection, social security and employment. More comprehensively, the AU First ten Year Implementation of the Agenda 2063 set specific targets under the priority area on social security and social protection for all.
At global level, the UN 2030 Agenda also calls for universal social protection coverage in line with the ILO recommendation on Social Protection Floors. At this year’s UN General Assembly, world leaders launched an unprecedented effort to roll out universal social protection in countries all around the world. Heads of state, the World Bank Group and the International Labour Organization convened on Wednesday 21 September to launch the Global Partnership for Universal Social Protection, which aims to make pensions, maternity, disability and child benefits, among others, available to all persons, closing the gap for hundreds of millions currently unprotected worldwide.
In order to commence the implementation of the above policy frameworks, the FAO and ILO supported the AUC to experiment SPIREWORK-CAAP Mainstreaming through Cooperative System for social protection to rural workers and members of their families. Four pilot countries were selected (Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya and Malawi) to develop an approach that can be duplicated in other African countries. Cooperative provide a set of services to their members in support to their operations and living conditions.
This gives them a capacity in terms of appropriate instrument and channel to reach out the rural workers and members of their families who are the targets of SPIREWORK. Considering that cooperatives often have a large membership, it is assumed that this will ease a rapid and broad penetration of social security/protection services to rural workers.
The intervention is aimed at enhancing technical capacity in the beneficiary countries. This includes governmental officers, particularly from the ministries of Agriculture and Social Affairs/Labour, cooperatives, employers’ and workers’ organizations, in developing and implementing a social protection mix strategy (contributory and non-contributory) for accelerated coverage of rural workers and members of their families. Main activities include a country-level survey on the current and potential social protection service provided by cooperatives to members, compared to the risk profile and social protection need of member families.
Training for the surveys was conducted in each of the pilot countries (Kenya, Malawi, Cameroun and Ivory Coast). Below are training captions from Kenya