A book titled, ‘From Evidence to Action: The Story of Cash Transfers and Impact Evaluation in Sub Saharan Africa’ was officially launched by Her Majesty Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso at the occasion held in Maseru on Thursday.
Speaking at the event, Her Majesty congratulated the Lesotho government through Ministry of Social Development and development partners like the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for their contribution in making Lesotho a centre of reference for other countries in as far as the cash transfer grants to vulnerable households has been successfully carried out.
She said the money has amongst others helped in transforming the lives of the beneficiaries, adding that evidence has shown that the cash transfer programme policies are needed to speed up the progress towards the country’s sustainable development.
Her Majesty highlighted that the money has increased savings for the households, while on the other hand it has benefited the families through increased agricultural production and added a dietary diversity in such families.
”It has also reduced the child on farm labour and the children dropouts from school as well as begging. It further increased the number of children going to high school as parents are able to pay for their school fees,” the Queen stated.
She further urged the Ministry and development partners to continue to work together and expressed hope that the findings of the book will inform the policy framework for the country.
Speaking at the same occasion, the EU Ambassador to Lesotho, Mr. Michael Doyle commended Lesotho government for conducting the cash transfer for social protection of vulnerable households.
He said since 2008, EU has invested 30 million Euros equivalent to about M455 million in support of Lesotho government in its efforts on social protection especially on the Child Grants Programme.
The Programme has been designed to improve children’s living conditions particularly to improve access to nutritious food and medical services, and to increase school attendance as well as school retention.
Mr. Doyle said Lesotho’s Child Grants Programme has gained international recognition partly because what started as a fully funded intervention has transitioned in a relatively short period of time to a national programme fully funded and administered by Lesotho government.
Also speaking was the Minister of Social Development, Mr. Molahlehi Letlotlo who appreciated the support from Lesotho’s development partners in social protection issues.
He said the social protection grants started in 1976 under the Department of Social Welfare and in 2009 the Child Grants programme started, adding that since 2013, the programme has been fully funded by the government through the national budget.
He thanked EU for assisting the Ministry in establishing a national information system to keep data of beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, there are about 25,000 households which include 75,000 vulnerable children who receive quarterly cash payments of between M360 and M750 depending on the number of children per household.
The stories of the cash transfers have been collected in eight countries including, Ghana, Lesotho, Ethiopia, South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya.