‘We hope ‘Nafa’ Program will impact beneficiaries after 3 years’
By Cherno Omar Bobb
Dr Amat Bah, Executive Director for the National Nutrition Agency (NaNA), one of the implementing partners of the ‘Nafa’ Program has said that the project is beginning to see results even though it is at an early stage. However, he said they are hoping that the Cash Transfer and Social and Behavioural Change Communication (SBCC) will have an impact on beneficiaries.
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 extreme poor households is aimed at increasing both 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.
He noted that, one of the successes theyhave in this project is that they were able to pilot it in three districts of Foni Bintang, Nainija and Wuli West Districts.
“All the things we have learnt from the pilot had helped us to make sure the rollout is effectively done,” he added, saying the project is for one year six months but they are looking for more resources and are hopeful that they will get it to be able to implement the project for 3 years to be able to assess the impact on how people have been moved from extreme poverty to probably out of the poverty.
“Data has been collected from 30 districts and we are hoping that we will be successful in getting more resources to ensure wherever there is a household that is considered to be extremely poor in the country is assisted to get out of that extreme poverty,” he stated.
Dr. Bah pointed out that, the money given is an unconditional cash transfer and they are not conditioning anybody as to how to spend their monies but said they have been identified as extremely poor households and they want to get them out of extreme poverty.
He therefore appealed to beneficiaries to use the money wisely so that they are able to sustain themselves when the project ends.
He observed that what makes households poor is different from household to household and as such there will be a household were the need to get them out of poverty is different from another household.
“The project will finish but we want by the time it ends householdsto have something that will be able to sustain and keep them out of poverty,” he also said while urging beneficiaries to use their monies for the purpose it is intended for.
He also appealed to all beneficiaries that the money is not to bring division in their families or communities but rather to create unity among them.
Dr. Bah highlighted that, NaNA is into the project because they know that the underline cause of malnutrition is poverty, noting that if the ‘Nafa’ is going to get people out of poverty then they should be interested to be able to end malnutrition.