1. Background:Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD) has laid out its vision of reforms in the social protection sector in the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS) – both in the Pensions and Safety-Net areas. In pensions, the main objective is to ensure fiscal sustainability and mitigate fiscal impact of the Pay and Grading reform on the Pension program, making it consistent with the broader public sector reform agenda. The strategy also recognizes that it is critically important to develop fiscally sound and well-targeted social protection interventions, including Pension system, Safety Nets for improving the poverty outcomes in the country.
With this background, MoLSAMD will pilot a safety net programme for one district in Balkh. The purpose of piloting a social safety net program to support child outcomes, intended to serve as a first step to develop a sustainable approach to safety nets in Afghanistan. Beginning of October 2015, MoLSAMD will being the operational activity of piloting a cash transfer in Charkent District of Mazar Province to support poor families with children equal to or below 10 years of age. Villagers enrolled in the scheme will receive 2 cash transfers during a period of 1 year in order to access and consume health and education services and smooth food consumption. The pilot is implemented through a series of processes starting with the targeting of the intended population group, enrollment of eligible families and payments to beneficiary families.
MoLSAMD is planning to implement the pilot in Charkent district of Balkh Province, focusing on providing cash assistance to SELECT SQL_CACHEed very poor families with children. The implementation of this Program is planned to be through the Community Development Councils (CDCs) with support from Directorate of Labor Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled (DoLSAMD), of Balkh province. The CDCs have been established throughout the country through the National Solidarity Program (NSP) in the villages. MoLSAMD intends to implement the pilot in the Charkent district of Balkh province through DoLSAMD.
The strategy also recognizes the positive role of cash transfer in increasing resources for household food security, health and care as key in ensuring proper nutrition for the children of Afghanistan. By increasing resources for household the resilience of poor and vulnerable households are also improved allowing the households to diversity their food, improve basic sanitation facilities and improve access to health facilities and preventive interventions such as deworming tablets as well as influence child care, feeding practices and health seeking behavior for example attending community growth monitoring sessions regularly which have effect on nutritional status of children.
Under the safety net programme therefore conceited efforts will be made to optimize the impact of cash transfer on nutrition status of children by ensuring bi-directional integration with basic community nutrition package with the aim of promotion of recommended practices that support key infant and child feeding and care practices as well as improved access to and quality of community identification, treatment and management of acute malnutrition, and improved intake and status of vitamin and minerals among pregnant and lactating women and children 6-23 months in the targeted households.
MOLSAMD will coordinate with MOPH (PND and CBCH) at all levels to ensure that frontline workers/ community mobilizers have increased knowledge in basic community nutrition package (growth monitoring and promotion; nutrition sensitive and specific interventions; Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition (IMAM);hygiene promotion; hands on experience on ways of preparing nutritious and diversified meals) to be able to support targeted households with appropriate infant and young child feeding and care practices.
Considering the above, the DoLSAMD seeks to hire six Social Organizers for the implementation of safety net scheme who will be primarily tasked to undertake Community Mobilisation, Community Based Targeting and Enorllment. It is also likely and depending on the progress of the targeting process, the social organisers will also be engaged in implementing the community based nutrition programme. Then, accordingly the contracts of the social mobilisers will be extended.
The Social Organizers would work with a team consisting of (i) DoLSAMD Directorate core Staff in Balkh(ii) Other male and female Social Organizers of the team (iii) District Safety Net Officer, Safety Net Manager under the overall guidance and supervision of DoLSAMD Director, Balkh and in collaboration with technical team of the project, MoLSAMD and UNICEF.
2. Project Support Team (PST)
The PST, working under the supervision of MoLSAMD and in close coordination with UNICEF will responsible for the coordination of the pilot project processes and the supervision of field activities. The PST’s counterpart within the Ministry is the Poor Families Unit situated under the Directorate of Social Protection.
The PST consists of the following actors: (i) Safety net manager; (ii) District Safety Net Officer; (iii) District Finance Officer; (iv) Project Assistant (v) six social mobilisers based in Charkent and vi) Procurement officer;
Reports to MoLSAMD and works very closely with UNICEF. Performance evaluation will be done jointly by MoLSAMD and UNICEF. The following points are to be noted:
a) There will be no automatic renewal of contracts. The extension of the contracts would need to be based on a joint agreement between MoLSAMD and UNICEF. If the personnel receive no notification of renewal, it should be considered that the contract is not to be renewed;
b) There will be no automatic transfer to the next step of the grade the personnel is placed on upon renewal of contract. The decision to provide the next step will be based on a joint performance evaluation by MoLSAMD and UNICEF;
UNICEF as a UN agency will not be responsible for any tax liability and it is the responsibility of the relevant staff member to comply with all local taxation requirements including payment of income tax etc. This should be clearly noted in the contract between the staff member and MoLSAMD;