By Landing Ceesay
The National Social Protection Forum organised by the National Social Protection Secretariat came to a conclusion on Wednesday with strong calls for action.
The goals of the NSPP focus on key thematic examples of actions to achieve coverage of social programmes, building social protection systems, sustainable financing, training, and capacity building.
The participants of the National Social Protection Forum, representing social protection actors, encourage the government of The Gambia to fulfil its commitments and take sustainable actions towards having an inclusive social protection system that would reduce vulnerability, poverty and build household resilience where women, children and vulnerable families and groups enjoy their basic human rights.
The forum requested the government to commit itself to protecting the rights of the people, among others.
“Respect, protect and fulfil the rights of everyone especially children and women irrespective of background, religion, ethnicity, disability, or any other consideration or status; increase budgetary allocation into social protection programmes with particular interest to scale up the school feeding programme, school bus services, educational services (infrastructure, menstrual pads for girls, teaching and learning materials), services for persons with special needs, basic health services – comprehensive Reproductive Health, Immunization, Birth Registration – cash transfers to extremely poor households to build resilience, prevention and treatment of malnutrition, water and sanitation accessible and available to the poor and the most vulnerable living in The Gambia.
“Complete full establishment of a functional, inter-operable social registry to provide real-time data to inform social protection policy and programs, considering gender and special needs accompanied with a data protection and sharing protocol; strengthen and empower the National Social Protection Secretariat with all the necessary legal instruments and resources for social protection program coordination, monitoring and evaluation, and partnership; engage the University of The Gambia with technical support from development partners to develop and introduce both professional and academic programs including social research into social inclusion, pubic finance for the poor and most vulnerable, among others to ensure that there is an adequate human resource to drive social protection in The Gambia,” the requests read.
The role of the Social Protection Secretariat is to support the National Social Protection Steering Committee in providing leadership and coordination across the totality of social protection efforts in The Gambia.
The forum which began on Tuesday at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Centre was attended by the Vice President, Dr. Isatou Touray and host of dignitaries.