Africa-Press – Lesotho. LESOTHO yesterday received a 1.6 million Euro (about M26 million) grant from the European Union. The money is meant to help the Ministry of Social Development implement programmes to assist the elderly, orphans and other vulnerable members of society.
Finance Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro, Social Development Minister ’Matebatso Doti and the EU Ambassador Michael Doyle were signatories to the agreement.
The original financing agreement for this programme named ‘Strengthening Governance of Social Protection in Lesotho’ amounting to 8 million Euros was signed between the EU and the government of Lesotho on September 9, 2015.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Majoro said the main implementing entity is the Ministry of Social Development while fund management and technical support is provided by UNICEF through a contribution agreement.
He said the initiative builds on the success of the previous 9th and 10th EDF programmes and is contributing to the strengthening of social protection in Lesotho.
He said it will assist vulnerable children, through the provision of technical assistance, capacity building and finance operating cost in support of poverty reduction under child and gender sensitive social protection and improved basic services in general.
He said it is as laid out in the National Strategic Development Plan 2012/13-2017 (NSDP) and the EU- Lesotho 11th European Development Fund (EDF) national indicative programme 2014-2020 (NIP).
He said the comprehensive social protection system will seek to ensure the most vulnerable elements of Lesotho’s population are provided with a level of protection that is sustainable and where the citizenry is able to enjoy the benefits of social protection without any discrimination.
He said the key deliverables of the project are enhanced capacity of the Ministry of Social Development to lead, manage and implement a comprehensive and integrated social protection system.
He said it will also see the institutionalisation of a central registry system for the management and monitoring of social protection. He said it also has enhanced capacity of local government structures to implement social protection strategies and promote behavioural change.
Majoro said it is important to note that the government of Lesotho with the support of the EU, the World Bank, UNICEF and other partners have developed a National Information System for Social Assistance (NISSA) which is a single national registry for social assistance.
“NISSA has transversal capacity to support and implement social protection programmes of the Ministry of Social Development as well as other associated interventions under the ministries,” he said.
He said to date NISSA has registered 115 000 households EDF 9 and EDF 10. He said the registration of further 60 000 households is currently underway and should be completed shortly.
“The additional funding of 1.6 Euro will enable this process to continue targeting a further 60 000 households,” he said.
Majoro said in order to ensure that all 365 000 households are registered, a further tranche of 6.4 million Euros is being planned for 2018 to cover the balance.
EU Ambassador to Lesotho Michael Doyle said this is an additional funding for the third phase of the EU support to ‘Strengthening Governance of Social Protection in Lesotho’. He said this will be used to expand the NISSA which is the key pillar of the social protection strategy in Lesotho