Sokoto State gets a clear roadmap for successful social protection programs — UNICEF

NNN: Malam Isa Ibrahim, Social Welfare Officer at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF),
says the Sokoto State Government has secured a roadmap for successful implementation of social protection activities.

Ibrahim said this during the closing of the joint project on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of Social Protection (SP)
meeting with high-level organs of the Sokoto State government on Monday in Sokoto.

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He said that with the successes recorded at the end of the project, the state government was able to obtain
clear guide and policy direction for social protection activities with clear targets for vulnerable people in the state.

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He added that “with a full cadre on the ground and competent government personnel with the right skills
during the closed project, we are confident that even without development partners, Sokoto can successfully implement
social protection program.

“We have obtained the government’s commitment to develop a social protection policy, a commitment to improve the budgetary allocation
to social protection.

“Prior to the closure of the project, various social interventions were being implemented in Sokoto State, however, this program
was able to coordinate and bring together key ministries and departments with critical players on a single platform.

“Mechanisms have also been formulated with an empowered workforce for successful cash transfer, health supports and
other aspects of social protection with proper sustainability plans,” Ibrahim said.

According to him, the United Nations considers Sokoto State as a pilot project of social protection in recognition of poverty
index of authorities that have classified the state as a high prevalence area.

Ibrahim added that the programs included cash transfers for education, especially for girls, the schooling of
those vulnerable to the contributory health care scheme and other state welfare initiatives.

Dr Akeem Olusola, head of program policy at the World Food Program (WFP), said the efforts served as a driving force for normalization
National Social Protection Policy in Nigeria, as well as higher ranking in the National Safety Net Registry.

Olusola said cash disbursement procedures, beneficiary identification and other implementation strategies
were on standard best practices that ensured minimal hiccups.

He noted that the two-year program to strengthen social protection in Nigeria with good implementations
in Sokoto State was to serve as a model for other states to generate impacts through a combination of institutional approaches.

“The social protection system focused on innovative financing mechanisms because the joint program would contribute to
articulated cash transfer and universal health insurance programs for greater impact,” he said.

He further explained that the capacity building workshops during the exercise were to increase technical knowledge and
efficiency in mechanisms for targeting and identifying beneficiaries.

Earlier, Alhaji Arzika Bodinga, Acting Permanent Secretary, Sokoto State Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning expressed
appreciated the successes recorded in the program, saying that it had expanded the potential of the State to implement the right
social protection activities.

Participants came from the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs, the Ministry of Budget and Planning, the Ministry of Health and
Sokoto State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency (SOCHEMA).

The others were the Sokoto State Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA), the Sokoto State Zakkat and Endowment Commission (SOZECOM), the Sokoto State (SEMA) and SUBEB.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the joint project which started in January 2020 was due to end in December 2021
in three selected local government areas of Sokoto, anchored by UNICEF, the International Labor Organization and the United Nations Development Program
and World Food Programme.

NewsSourceCredit: NAN

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Joel C. Hicks