THE ministry of Social Development has set aside M13, 5 million for the enrollment of 6900 poor and ultra-poor families in their two grants programmes for 2018/19 through the National Information System for Social Assistance (NISSA).
The ministry’s senior social assistance officer, Bernard Mokhachane, told the Sunday Express that they have three monetary programmes to support poor and vulnerable families to meet them halfway in initiatives to improve their lives.
“The ministry has public assistance in cash, child grants programme and the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) bursary which are all issued in cash on a quarterly basis ranging from M350 to M750 while the bursary is paid straight to the schools the children attend,” Mr Mokhachane said.
Mr Mokhachane said among the 6900 families, some are eligible for two grants while some will benefit from one depending on the family’s status.
He said the 2018/19 enrollment is being done through the NISSA data base. He added that the enrolment will be informed by a survey conducted in 12 community councils in five districts namely Leribe, Butha-Buthe, Maseru, Mohale’s Hoek and Berea by NISSA.
“NISSA was introduced to establish a comprehensive and integrated Social Protection System and to improve coordination between existing social protection interventions.
“The development of a national registry in Lesotho helps create a single database in which information of all households and individuals who are potentially eligible for social protection interventions is securely stored. NISSA improves time and cost. It also eases the implementation of existing and future programming of social expenditure,” Mr Mokhachane said.
He said they are targeting beneficiaries of several social safety nets, to support the management and linkages of social protection programmes and to conduct research on beneficiaries’ needs or other social aspects.
“We are at the stage where we are registering eligible families to be enrolled in the programme next year. This is to avoid congestion in January next year especially for the OVC bursary as we want to cover those who dropped out of school this year because of lack of funds so that they know that they will be covered next year.
“Our approach will sensitise the community about the programmes offered by the ministry so that they know what to do should they need the assistance because if they are eligible they will be assisted.
“Before we started using NISSA as a targeting tool, we were using self-targeting where people who know our services were going directly to our offices to ask for services.”
He said once beneficiaries are enrolled for the bursary, they must attend public, church or government schools which use the rational fees structure.