Madagascar’s Joint Programme (JP) for Integrated Social Protection seeks to support the Government in strengthening its social protection system by making it more sensitive to the needs of extremely poor households (which account for 52% of the population), paying a special focus to persons with disabilities. The JP’s strategy is two-pronged: to provide complementary social protection interventions aimed at supporting consumption, managing socioeconomic risks and promoting productive life investments; and support the Government in developing an efficient social protection model that can be scaled up nationally.
The JP has been active over the first six months. A workshop with national stakeholders was held to define the referral system that will link beneficiary safety nets to other social protection initiatives. An analysis to reinforce the inclusiveness of the national social protection programme was launched. A cash transfer programme has reached roughly 4,000 households and 12,000 children in selected beneficiary communities. A simulation tool to analyze the cost and impact of safety nets has been developed and will inform the new parameters of the cash transfer programme in the coming months, including the possibility of introducing a disability benefit for children living with disabilities. Gender-based violence (GBV) prevention activities have been initiated in the model district to complement the cash transfer programme, while a GBV center has been operationalized and radio programmes have been broadcasted to further sensitize the population to GBV issues.
The Joint SDG Fund has permitted JPs to repurpose up to 20% of funding for COVID-related activities. In Madagascar, sessions have been conducted to inform populations of the risks of — and means to protect them from — the pandemic. The additional funds have been used to provide livelihood support and health insurance enrolment to selected farmers in the model district. Indeed, increased sensitization to the virus and the provision of tools to prevent its spread in the intervention area have been necessary to mitigate COVID-19’s negative effects.
Despite the current context, the JP in Madagascar has led a successful launch. It has taken excellent steps towards strengthening the national social protection system and making it more sensitive to the needs of the most vulnerable, while incorporating a special focus on persons with disabilities.