The Government has decided to channel 10 per cent of its funding to social protection services to the poor every year through non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and faith-based organisations (RBOs) in order to maximise impact.
The plan is contained in a policy brief in line with a Cabinet resolution, on Tuesday, that approved the framework for joint Government and Civil Society Organisations to improve the delivery of social protection programmes in the country.
For every financial year, starting with the next six months of the pilot of the programme, the Government will spend Rwf7 billion (10 per cent of its annual budget for social protection programmes) to help vulnerable Rwandans, channelling it through civil society organisations (CSOs).
The most specialised and credible among the latter will be employed to take care of the vulnerable, such as elderly indigents and people living with disabilities, while the NGOs will also be hired to help in the process of selecting beneficiaries of government social protection services instead of leaving this task to local officials.
Speaking to The New Times, yesterday, the Minister of State for Community Development and Social Affairs, Dr Alvera Mukabaramba, said the move will help to reduce difficulties in selecting beneficiaries and corruption cases in the delivery of social protection programmes.
“We will be working with the most reputable and credible NGOs in the social protection sector. Selecting beneficiaries has been extremely hard for us because when you select the wrong person, you won’t help the poor,” Mukabaramba said.
The programme to engage CSOs will focus on about 10 social development and social protection innovations, including the One-Cow-per-Family (Girinka); VUP through which the poor get cash handouts or are given paid work; Ubudehe through which the poor are selected and supported, and family and child programmes such as help to school dropouts and street children or malnourished children.
The Government will also channel, through NGOs, some funding for victims of gender-based violence and those that work in maintaining decent housing for survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Mukabaramba said the pilot project will start in seven districts in the next six months.
A copy of the policy brief availed to The New Times indicates that pilot districts for the project will include Nyamasheke, Nyamagabe, Nyaruguru, Muhanga, Gakenke, Rutsiro and Ngororero, while the pilot phase will also begin with only Girinka and VUP programmes.
The districts for the pilot project were designated by the Cabinet as neediest of social protection programmes and as having been the places which have shown the highest degree of citizen dissatisfaction in the delivery of social protection programmes.
Girinka and VUP programmes have been recently marred with corruption cases, with some officials accused of submitting ‘ghost’ lists of beneficiaries to embezzle funds, while some cows meant for the poor through Girinka ended up in the hands of the rich.
The chairperson of Rwanda Civil Society Platform, Edouard Munyamaliza, welcomed the Government’s move to work with NGOs to deliver social protection services, saying members of the civil society are better placed to help the poor.
“The civil society is always on the people’s side; they are always serving the interests of the people. They are therefore better placed to deliver social protection services to the poor,” he said.
Munyamaliza said the Government’s partnership with NGOs will help the latter improve their services to the people because they will have reliable source of funding to help the poor.
“The civil society has been unable to efficiently deliver because some NGOs didn’t have a predictable source of funding as they used to rely on external funders who often put their conditionalities on the funds. By partnering with the Government, they can have a reliable source of funding and improve on what they do best,” Munyamaliza said.
The Government has planned that leadership and contractual obligations with NGOs will remain under the management of relevant organs such as Rwanda Agriculture Board or Ministry of Agriculture for Girinka, while Local Administrative Entities Development Agency, Agriculture ministry, and districts will manage VUP.
Rwanda Governance Board has also been tasked to provide oversight and overall coordination of the programme’s implementation.