The Social Cash Transfer program or SCT under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has concluded one-day district consultative forum with stakeholders from various districts in Bong County. The program is being implemented by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the World Bank.
Under the program, people living in abject poverty and those whose sources of income have been hit by shock will receive monthly stipends as part of an effort to reduce poverty in the country and increase the standard of living.
Speaking at the official opening of the district consultative forum, Bong County Assistant Superintendent for Development, Anthony Sheriff, reminded stakeholders that they have an essential role to play in the selection of beneficiaries for the program.
Superintendent Sheriff said the Liberian government introduced the strategy to help people living in economic vulnerability. He warned the stakeholders not to be partial or influence the election process by including people, who are not living in economic hardship.
He added that including relatives on the program as beneficiaries is absolutely counterproductive to its success and undermines government’s effort to reduce poverty and create conducive living environment for very poor people.
Explaining the necessity of the program to the stakeholders, SCT Administrative and Finance Officer, Varney Benson, said besides the reduction of poverty, government also wants to reduce starvation and labor constraint amongst households and others.
He said earlier donors for the program had been the European Union and UNICEF but both institutions left after the duration of their intervention expired and that the current initiative is being supported by the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Giving an overview of the targeting process, the Social Cash transfer Program Cluster Three Coordinator, Sylvester William Taylor, said staff of the program will closely work with stakeholders to identify potential beneficiaries.
The district level consultation was attended by commissioners, paramount chiefs, clan chiefs, women and youth leaders and eminent citizens from the various districts in Bong.
The Cash Transfer Program which is expected to benefit 3000 households in Bong County, also covers Lofa and Rivercess counties categorized as cluster three. By Papa Morris in Bong – Editing by Jonathan Browne