Supporting the deployment of the Social Registry and protecting the most vulnerable populations from shocks
Mauritania remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Poverty rates remain highest in rural areas of the country where households depend on rain-fed agriculture and livestock. To help the most vulnerable households, the Government of Mauritania decided to establish a Social Registry in 2016 as one of the central elements of its social protection system.
In order to support the Mauritanian Government in the deployment of the Social Registry, which serves as a coordination mechanism for social safety net programmes targeting the most vulnerable populations, the World Bank launched the “Mauritania Social Safety Net System” project in 2015. This project, with an overall budget of USD 29 million, is financed by a World Bank grant of USD 15 million, a contribution of USD 10 million from the Mauritanian state and a contribution of USD 4 million from the United Kingdom and France.
Through this project, the World Bank is supporting the Government of Mauritania in the deployment and management of the Social Registry, the TEKAVOUL social transfer programme, and its shock responsive social safety net programme, ELMAOUNA. The Social Registry aims to identify the 200,000 poorest households in Mauritania and support the targeting process of social programmes, such as the TEKAVOUL programme. The latter supports the poorest households on a regular basis with cash transfers and social sensibilisation sessions. The ELMAOUNA programme is implemented by the Food Security Commission (CSA) since 2017 to enable poor households to cope with shocks, particularly droughts.
New support for Mauritania's social protection system
The first phase of the project came to an end in October 2020. The second phase, with an overall budget of USD 72 million and effective since June 2020, aims to further improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the national social safety net system and to expand its coverage. This new phase is financed with a USD 20 million grant from the Mauritanian Government, a USD 45 million grant from the World Bank as well as USD 7 million from the Sahel Adaptive Social Protection Programme (ASPP), co-financed by the German government. The partners’ contributions for this phase are part of the G5 Sahel’s Emergency Development Programme (EDP), which is funded by the members of the Sahel Alliance.
Towards a social safety net system that leaves no one behind
The first phase of the project helped accomplish the registration of 165,742 poor households in the Social Registry by February 2021. In order to achieve national coverage (200,000 households), the Social Registry has launched the identification and registration of poor households in Nouadhibou and Nouakchott in the first quarter of 2021 as part of the new phase. To this end, the Social Registry has adapted its methodology to operate in an urban context. The extension of the Registry to the refugee population, which is mainly based in the 2 Hodhs region, is also underway to enable the most vulnerable refugee households to benefit from the Government’s and partners’ social assistance.
The TEKAVOUL programme supports households in extreme poverty on a regular basis through cash transfers and social promotion sessions. For example, 59,719 households (37,129 from project funds and 22,590 from additional Government funds) benefitted from a cash transfer in January 2021. The extension of TEKAVOUL to several moughataas is underway with the goal of national coverage (100,000 households) by the end of 2021. The extension of the Social Register to the refugee population in the 2 Hodhs allows the most vulnerable refugees to benefit from the TEKAVOUL programme. For example, in December 2020, a total of 10,044 households in the wilaya of Hodh ech Chargui were enrolled in the TEKAVOUL programme for a 5-year cycle.
Through the project, the shock responsive social safety net programme, ELMAOUNA, supported 6,625 food and nutritionally insecure households during the 2020 lean season (June to October 2020) using the social protection tools (the Social Registry and the TEKAVOUL payment platform) and in close coordination with humanitarian actors (WFP, INGOs).
The TEKAVOUL programme supports households in extreme poverty in a regular and sustainable manner through cash transfers and social promotion sessions. The extension of TEKAVOUL to several Moughataas is underway with the objective of national coverage (100,000 households) by the end of 2021. Between October and December 2020, households in the seven Moughataas of Hodh Ech Chargui were enrolled in the programme, bringing the number of households in extreme poverty benefiting from TEKAVOUL thanks to project funds up to 47,158. At the same time, the extension of the TEKAVOUL programme with the Government’s own funds has made possible to enrol 22,708 additional households in 9 other Moughataas. The extension of the Social Registry to the refugee population in the 2 Hodhs allows refugee households to also benefit from the TEKAVOUL programme.
Thanks to the project, the shock-responsive social safety net programme, ELMAOUNA, supported 6,625 food and nutritionally insecure households during the 2020 lean season (June to October 2020) using the social protection tools supported by this project (the Social Register and the TEKAVOUL payment platform). Additional funding for this programme was secured in February 2021, which will allow to support of 36,000 vulnerable households during the 2021 lean season through ELMAOUNA and to vertically and horizontally expand TEKAVOUL.
Additional support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
The social protection tools supported by this project have reached the most remote populations in the country as part of the response to the COVID-19 health emergency. For example, in February 2021, the project, together with the French Development Agency (AFD) and additional Government funds, supported the second round of COVID-19 cash transfers to 210,000 households.
Social protection at the heart of development
The project supports the Mauritanian Government’s commitment to strengthening the social safety net system as defined in its Strategy for Accelerated Growth and Shared Prosperity 2016-2030 (SCAPP). Cash transfers play a crucial role in reducing inequality and poverty and providing better social protection.
“In the short-term, the families will be able to use the money for their immediate needs, generally food and basic services and in the long-term run be able to put aside some money to invest in their livelihoods and their well-being. Cash transfers have also proven to have a knock-on effect on local economies, so they benefit the entire community,” said Matthieu Lefebvre, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project.
Photo credit : AFD