The Save the Children International (SCI), an NGO, on Thursday said that delivery of inclusive social protection interventions would lift people out of poverty in Nigeria.
SCI Senior Policy and Advocacy Specialist, Mr Saeed Mustafa, stated this at the end of a three-day workshop organised for social protection platforms in Kaduna and Zamfara states.
The platforms are Kaduna Social Protection Accountability Coalition (KADSPAC) and Zamfara Social Protection Platform (ZSPP).
Mustafa described social protection as set of policies and programmes designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability.
It also help to diminish people’s exposure to risks and enhance their capacity to protect themselves against hazards and loss of income, he added.
The official said that the meeting was organised to share experience and develop work plans for the implementation of the Expanding Social Protection for Inclusive Development (ESPID) project.
According to him, the focus of ESPID is to ensure that many people are lifted out of poverty through the provision of inclusive social protection interventions in the country.
“This we will do by deepening our support on inclusion and ensure that marginalised groups like persons with disability, minority groups, women, children and older persons benefit from social protection interventions.”
Mustafa said that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media were key to developmental initiatives in the country, particularly in the social protection space.
“While we recognise that there is still a lot to do, CSOs working around social protection have been committed to working with the government at national and state level.
“This is to ensure that social protection systems are strengthened and government capacity and willingness to be accountable to the people is deepened.
“But more importantly, it is to ensure that issues of social protection as it relates to poverty is kept in the front burner for decision makers, and policy makers continue to see it as a priority,” he said.
He said that SCI will continue to work with CSOs and the media to strengthen their capacity for effective and strategic engagement of government to improve social protection systems in the country.
“This is so that they will be in a position to hold the government accountable, support the government and mobilise the people to demand for social protection services as a right,” he said.
Also, Mr Nura Abdullahi, SCI Advocacy and Communication Coordinator, Zamfara, explained that the ESPID project was being supported by UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office.
Abdullahi said that ESPID was designed to deepen inclusion in social protection programmes, and was an extension of the Child Development Grant Programme that ended in July 2021.
The Chairperson, KADSPAC, Ms Jessica Bartholomew commended Save the Children for supporting CSOs and the media to engage and influence decision makers to improve and deliver inclusive social protection services.
Bartholomew said that the ESPID project would further strengthen KADSPAC members’ understanding of issues around inclusion and exclusion so that no one would be left behind in the delivery of social protection policy.
Also, the Chairman, ZSPP, Mr Nasiru Usman, said that a well-coordinated social protection intervention would reduce the problem of inclusion and exclusion in the selection of beneficiaries of social protection programmes.