FAO social protection focal points shared their experiences at a regional training and strategic planning meeting in Nairobi

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FAO social protection focal points shared their experiences at a regional training and strategic planning meeting in NairobiA three-day workshop bringing together people from 35 African countries charted the way forward for social protection initiatives in Africa and established a network of focal points to improve the United Nations social protection work for the Food and Agriculture (FAO) in Agrifood Systems and Agricultural Transformation in Africa.

“The workshop really put social protection at the forefront of the work we are doing in Africa to achieve healthy and affordable food and will ultimately lead to better lives for the vulnerable communities we serve,” said Bintia Stephen Tchicaya, responsible for the FAO regional social protection program at the end of the meeting held from 27 to 29 June in Nairobi.

This meeting, convened by the FAO Regional Office for Africa, brought together FAO social protection focal points from 35 African countries, including social protection specialists from the Regional Office and FAO for regional training, strategic planning and sharing of knowledge and experiences. on social protection.

It aimed to increase awareness of regional priorities and initiatives on social protection and to share country experiences, best practices and key knowledge of FAO products/tools on social protection that will guide and strengthen protection work. social at national and regional levels.

Main results obtained

This meeting provided an opportunity to raise awareness and understanding of the company’s social protection strategic direction and initiatives as well as regional thematic priorities and to develop social protection action plans for 2022- 23. The 35 country representatives increased their awareness and understanding of the role of social protection linked to FAO’s strategic framework and its role in achieving regional priorities for agricultural transformation. They learned from country successes and best practices in social protection and enhanced their knowledge of FAO tools available to strengthen social protection systems in countries and raise awareness on the importance of social protection for achievements. agrifood systems. Finally, the meeting allows for team building, experience sharing and the development of a regional action plan for FAO’s social protection work in Africa 2022-2023

“This has been a historic workshop for us in the Africa region and it is a journey for all of us for social protection in Africa and to the Africa we want. However, I have one last request, and that is to call on you to mobilize your country to ratify the AU Protocol on the Rights of Citizens to Social Protection and Social Security adopted by African Heads of State in February this year,” Bintia said. Stephen Tchicaya to all participants summarizing the results of the meeting.

FAO has a key role to play in linking social protection to agriculture

In several African countries, populations face vulnerabilities due to climatic and man-made disasters, health epidemics, food insecurity and conflicts. Coverage of poor and vulnerable populations by existing social protection systems, especially those in rural areas, remains low and system gaps are unable to respond adequately to economic downturns and unprecedented covariate shocks. However, data show that adequate social protection promotes inclusive growth and increases productivity and employability. Social protection occupies an increasingly important place in national long-term development strategies. FAO builds capacity to help governments and other stakeholders better respond to the needs and challenges of building inclusive and sustainable social protection systems, in synergy with rural and responsive development policies and initiatives to shocks.

FAO is fully committed to supporting Kenya in its social protection interventions

FAO in Kenya has worked with the government on several programmes/interventions related to the extension of social protection for increased economic inclusion of the poorest and most vulnerable households in the rural economy. As a member of the National Social Welfare Secretariat and the Child Welfare and Social Welfare Committee (under the United Nations Development Assistance Framework). “FAO continues to support government efforts to improve coordination mechanisms to achieve the objectives of the framework,” noted Carla Mucavi, FAO Representative in Kenya.

Representing the Permanent Secretary of the Department of State for Social Welfare, Elderly Affairs and Special Programs of Kenya, Jane Muyanga thanked FAO and partners for their continued support and affirmed that this training will help optimize the systems and regional and national social protection tools and to learn from the Kenyan experience in social protection and shared some key achievements:

She mentioned that FAO plays a crucial role in the social protection sector. “Food security remains a challenge for many of our vulnerable groups. I hope that in addition to guaranteeing household food security, it is essential that beneficiaries are informed of their nutritional status and in particular that of children. »

Social protection to be mainstreamed in all FAO activities

After this meeting, all participants agreed, among other things, to help finalize terms of reference for social protection focal points, to raise awareness and increase understanding of the transformation of agrifood systems and to design programs and supporting studies to provide evidence-based policies. tips. “I am happy that together we were able to achieve the results we set for ourselves and that we were able to meet most of your expectations. Upon your return to your respective countries, your first action will be to provide a briefing to your FAO representatives as well as your project and program teams on the regional action plan that we developed and which was based on your priority actions to be carried out on the country programming framework (CPF) and the recommendations of the 32n/a Regional Conference for Africa (ARC32),” said Bintia Stephen-Tchicaya in her closing speech.
Distributed by APO Group for the FAO Regional Office for Africa.

Joel C. Hicks