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Ministry partners in scheme to support social protection strategy

The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and Star Fintech are aiming to assist 1,400 people under a Mother and Early Childhood Grant targeting two districts in Attapeu and Savannakhet provinces.
An agreement was signed last week by the ministry’s Department of Social Welfare and Star Fintech (a subsidiary of Star Telecom/Unitel) on cooperation in electronic payments via u-money to support the rollout of cash transfers to beneficiaries under the Mother and Early Childhood Grant in the two pilot districts of Sanamxay and Nong in Attapeu and Savannakhet provinces respectively.
The agreement was signed by the Director General of the Department of Social Welfare, Mr Vilayphong Sisomvang, and the Director of Star Fintech Sole Co., Ltd. and General Director of Star Telecom (Unitel), Mr Luu Manh Ha.
The signing was witnessed by the UNICEF Representative to Laos, Dr Pia Rebello Britto, and Ms Anna Dyason of the Australian Embassy, together with representatives of government departments, UN agencies, and the company.
“The government recognises the role of social protection in reducing poverty and inequalities and in promoting socio-economic development and social cohesion and is committed to gradually aiming for universal coverage in social protection,” Mr Vilayphong said.
“The National Social Protection Strategy 2025 provides guidance for implementing social protection policies in Laos,” he added.
The government has received support from the UN Joint Programme (UNJP) and the Australian Department for Foreign Aid and Trade to implement the social protection programme “Leaving no one behind: Establishing the basis for social protection floors in Laos”.
The programme, launched on September 30, 2020, aims to support the government in implementing the National Social Protection Strategy 2025 through a system strengthening approach and the design and implementation of an integrated cash transfer pilot known as the Mother and Early Childhood Grant.
The programme will contribute to Sustainable Development Goals 1.3, 2.2, 16.9 and 17.3. At least 1,400 children and pregnant women will benefit from a new integrated package of welfare services, including early childhood wellbeing services and support for birth registration in Sanamxay and Nong districts.
“Social protection in Laos is at an early stage of development and there has been no experience of government-led social protection programmes providing regular cash transfers in Laos as of yet. Therefore, this programme provides a great opportunity to strengthen the capacity and existing system of the government in the planning, implementing and monitoring of social protection programmes through this experience,” Dr Britto said.
The implementation of the UNJP is led by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare in partnership with relevant ministries, provincial and district authorities in the pilot districts and the United Nations in Laos. It is being rolled out from January 2020 to March 2022 via the u-money system.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update
May 4,

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