European Union (EU) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Provide New Resources to the Government to Enhance Child Well-Being and Social Services in Lesotho

With the aim of enhancing the capacity of the Government to efficiently deliver social assistance programmes, including the Child Grants Programme, the Ministry of Gender, Youth, and Social Development today received two new vehicles, 10 laptops, and 20 tablets to support Ntlafatsa Bana-Improvement for Children, a component of the Equitable Lesotho programme. The official hand-over ceremony which took place on June 20, 2024, at Kick for Life grounds, was attended by the Honorable Minister of Social Development, the Ambassador of the European Union, Her Excellency Paola Amadei, and the UNICEF Lesotho Country Representative, Deepak Bhaskaran.

Under Equitable Lesotho, the Government of Lesotho, with support from the European Union and UNICEF, strives to improve the well-being and development of children under five, enhance the effectiveness of social assistance, ensure quality data and statistics, and address the needs of those living in the most vulnerable situations.

This provision of vehicles, laptops, and tablets will bolster the effective implementation of the project and enhance the delivery of social assistance programmes by addressing current transport and mobility constraints faced by the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Social Development (MoGYSD). The Ministry has initiated a process to upgrade the National Information System for Social Assistance (NISSA) and the Management Information System for Social Assistance (MISSA) while transitioning to digital payments. Thus, the tablets and laptops will facilitate the effective operations and management of the NISSA and MISSA systems and ensure a smooth transition to digital payments.

Spanning from 2023 to 2026, the Ntlafatsa Bana-Improvement for Children programme aims to improve the delivery of the Child Grants Programme (CGP), reducing the cost of delivery by shifting towards digital payments and by better targeting support to those most in need through accurate data collection and processing. Building on the previous three phases of the programme, operating since 2007, this phase seeks to support beneficiaries to access sustainable energy, water, and nutrition services as well as birth registration. Moreover, the Ntlafatsa Bana-Improvement for Children project will enhance the National Information System for Social Assistance (NISSA) and digitalise payments to beneficiaries.

“Receiving a payment on the phone, or at the bank, will allow a single mother to spend her precious time in her occupations rather than walking long distances to receive her cash subsidy, and then walk back with fear of being assaulted on the way back home. It also means great savings for all Basotho, as the government would not need to contract services for the physical dispatching of subsidies all over the country. A click will do. We are all eager to think of the long lines we all see in front of the distribution points, as a thing of the past”, stated EU Ambassador, Paola Amadei.

NISSA, a web-based repository housing socio-economic data for 488,000 households was created and funded over 10 years ago with the support of the EU and UNICEF. NISSA is essential for targeting support to those in need and plays a crucial role in social assistance programs and humanitarian response.

Emphasizing the importance of digital transformation, UNICEF Lesotho Country Representative, Deepak Bhaskaran stated that “During this phase of our partnership, we are also supporting the upgrading of the NISSA to ensure that it functions efficiently while transitioning social grant beneficiaries from manual to digital payment systems, including mobile payments and banking services. Currently, above 13,000 beneficiaries are already receiving their payments via mobile platforms. The digitalisation of payments offers opportunities for enhanced cost-effectiveness and timely delivery of cash to beneficiaries,”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Delegation of the European Union to the Kingdom of Lesotho.

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