Nafa Program enables man to provide fish money for family
By Cherno Omar Bobb
Sambou Touray, a native of Kuwonkunding village in Wuli West District, Upper River Region and a beneficiary of the ‘Nafa’ Program has said that the project helped him start a business to be able to provide fish money for his family.
Mr. Touray, a fish monger who started the business after benefiting from the ‘Nafa’ Program added that he depended on farming prior to the project and will usually finish consuming his harvest after four months. He explained that after receiving his household’s Cash Transfer he divided the money and spent half to buy a bag of rice for his family consumption and the other half to purchase fish to resell.
“The fish business is going on smoothly because most of the time there is fish scarcity within the area. Usually I resell what I purchase within 2 or 3 days and call my supplier again to bring me more fish,” he further explained. He stated that, prior to the project providing fish money for his family was a challenge for him but now he is able to do so and also give his children lunch money when they are going to school. He noted that his living condition has improved and he will be able to sustain himself and his household when the project phases out. He also urged his fellow beneficiaries to not eat all their monies but invest part of it to be able to sustain themselves and their families when the project ends.
He thanked the World Bank and The Gambia Government for funding the project. He also thanked implementing partners.
The ‘Nafa’ Program component of The GambiaSocial Safety Net Project (SSNP) (a US$ 31 million project) isjointly funded by the World Bank and the Government of The Gambia.The ‘Nafa’ Program is designed to promote continuity and harmonization with other programs, by expanding an existing package of cash transfers with Social and Behavioural Change Communication (SBCC) managed by NaNA and partners.
The National Nutrition Agency (NaNA), Directorate of Social Welfare and Department of Community Development are the implementing partners of the ‘Nafa’ Program.The Gambia SSNP is implemented in West Coast Region (WCR), Central River Region (CRR), North Bank Region (NBR), Lover River Region (LRR) and Upper River Region (URR) targeting 15,606extremely poor households, this equates to approximately 40 percent of the extremely poor households in The Gambia.For a start, it was being piloted in Foni Bintang, Nainija and Wuli West Districts.
The Project Development Objective (PDO) is to improve the coordination of social assistance activities, provide temporary social assistance support to rural households in the wake of COVID-19, and increase inclusion of the extreme poor in the ‘Nafa’ Program
The beneficiary selection was done using a Proxy-Means Test (PMT) which was followed by a community validation exercise in the poorest 20 districts of The Gambia. The regular revenue provided to extremely poor households is aimed at increasing short-term consumption of essential goods and enabling longer-term investments in human and productive capital.
Tailored SBCC provides information to beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries to encourage investments that can bolster human capital especially maternal and child health and nutrition, adolescence education and family planning; parenting and prevention of gender-based violence; and productive capital especially savings, entrepreneurship and agriculture to break the inter-generational cycle of poverty.In the three piloted districts, a total of Two Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy (2,770) beneficiary households each received D3000 every two months during the seven rounds of payment.
Samba Bah, Governor of Upper River Region expressed satisfaction with the way the Cash Transfer is carried out by implementing partners, saying this is because an assessment was done to identify extremely poor households.
He observed that the Cash Transfer has positively impacted the lives and livelihoods of beneficiaries.
He pointed out that beneficiaries do not only stop at receiving the money but are putting it into good use with some of them investing in businesses and other ventures.
Governor Bah noted that the project has transformed the lives of many in his region and other parts of the country and therefore appeal to the World Bank and The Gambia Government to expand the project to other districts across the country and increase the duration and scope of the project so that the poverty alleviation the country is yearning for is achieved. Abdou Aziz Ceesay, Director of Social and Behavioral Change Communication at the National Nutrition Agency said as a nutrition agency responsible for all nutrition and nutrition-related activities in the country the success registered by the project is a dream come true for them.
He highlighted that, if you uplift the extremely poor from poverty it improves under-nutrition, adding that lifting households from poverty and building their resilience improve their health and nutritional status as well.
Mr. Ceesay pointed out that if the trend of success registered by beneficiaries continues we will drastically reduce malnutrition and contribute to socio-economic development of the country.
He said, the reason why the cash transfer is accompany with Social and Behavioral Change Communication is to ensure beneficiaries invest part of the money they receive to ensure they are able to sustain themselves at the end of the project.
He called on other beneficiaries to emulate those that are already successful or have started micro-finance businesses.