DEVELOPMENT OF URBAN PRODUCTIVE SAFETY NET PROGRAM (UPSNP)
Safety net program is one components of social protection. According to Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (2012), social protection is a set of formal and informal intervention that aim to reduce social and economic risks, vulnerabilities and deprivations for all people and facilitates equitable growth. It consists of safety nets, social insurance, health insurance, livelihood and employment schemes, and improving basic services.
Safety net program is designed to provide people who are vulnerable to poverty, living in poverty or who are facing food insecurity and other forms of deprivation with predictable and reliable support through food, cash or vouchers (World Food Program, 2017). According to Subbarao, et al. (1996) and Devereux (2002) as cited in Khan, et al. (2013), safety net programs can be provided conditionally or unconditionally in-kind, or through cash or vouchers. World Bank together with other development partners initiated the productive safety net program to address food insecurity. The Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) has been operating in Ethiopia since 2005 in the rural parts of the country. Implemented in the second largest country of the continent, PSNP remains the largest safety net program in Africa (MOA, 2016). It has been serving as a major tool for social protection by providing cash or food transfers, or both to food insecure households, protecting assets, and creating community assets through direct and indirect/ public work activities supports. As stated in the MOA, the public work activities involves those who are able-bodied participating them in development activities such as water and soil management, construction of health posts, roads, schools. Thus, more than smoothening households‘ consumption, the program tries to enhance communities‘ livelihood by empowering households, building their resilience to shocks and stresses, and improving communities‘ physical environment and infrastructure. The Ethiopian government extended the Productive Safety Net in to urban areas to alleviate food insecurity since 2016. Within the framework of the National Social Protection Policy, the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing has developed Urban Food Security and Job Creation Strategy (MoUDH PIM, 2016). As stated in MoUDH (2016), the Urban PSNP (UPSNP) has the objective of reducing poverty and vulnerability among the urban poor living below the poverty line over a period of 10 years in a series of five-year phases. The project is supported by World Bank to start its pilot implemetation in 11 cities including the nine regional capitals (Adama, Assayita, Asosa, Dessie, Gambella, Hawassa, Harari, Jijiga, and Mekele), and the administrative cities (Dire Dawa and Addis Ababa). Three-fourth of the beneficiaries will be from Addis Ababa due to its large size and relatively high poverty rate record.
Components of UPSNP
To provide income support and increase employability of beneficiaries, UPSNP has three-phase integrated model or pathway. According to the MoUDH PIM (2016), beneficiaries receive conditional transfers followed by life skills training and guidance on the employment pathways (self-employment and wage employment) during the first phase; they will continue to receive conditional transfers, training and job-matching services to increase employability in the second phase; whereas, they will have the option to continue to receive a small amount of conditional transfers to supplement income derived from employment secured as a result of program support or through other means in the third phase. Therefore, after three years the public work beneficiaries will graduate from the program; however, they may choose to graduate earlier.
The three components of UPSNP are Safety Net Support, Livelihood Services, and Institutional Strengthening, Project Management and Coordination.
a) Safety Net Support
This component provides conditional and unconditional safety net transfers. The unconditional (direct) transfers are two types named as permanent and temporary unconditional transfers. Permanent unconditional transfer is for those who are unable to take part in work because of different reasons. Those eligible for permanent unconditional transfers who would like to receive these transfers register and provide verification of age (above 65 years only) or of their disability or chronic illness that prevents them from being able to perform a co-responsibility for the transfer (MoUDH, 2016). It targets the chronically ill, the elderly and people with disabilities, and urban destitute.
Temporary unconditional transfer is for those who are unable to work due to pregnancy, lactation (having a child less than one-year-old) and injury or illness. As per the PIM (2016), the households will provide verification of pregnancy or other temporary factors that prevent them from participation in public work. Conditional transfer is given to those who are able bodied to perform work. These clients get cash transfer by participating in public works. This group constitutes an estimated 84 percent oftotal program beneficiaries (MoUDH, 2016). Thus, the majority of the program‘s beneficiaries are those receiving cash after engaging in public work activities.
b) Livelihood Support
As per MoUDH (2016), those beneficiaries, who have interest to enhance their work, will get livelihood support that enables them to graduate from the program and promote moving out of poverty. The target groups for these interventions are individuals in households receiving conditional transfers who desire more and higher-paid work and a few numbers of beneficiaries who have a business skill directly involve in livelihood activities (MoUDH, 2016).
c) Institutional Strengthening and Program Management
This component will support the development and strengthening of project systems for targeting, monitoring and evaluation and management information system, payments, and citizens‘ engagement including social accountability and grievances redress mechanism. It will also finance capacity building (human resource, training, administrative, physical capacity) and strengthening program management (MoUDH, 2016).
Contributions of UPSNP
UPSNP has the intention of improving the livelihoods‘ of the beneficiaries which is stated in its manual. UPSNP supports the development of assets of the beneficiaries in a number of ways. In short, it contributes to the financial assets by providing cash payments for days worked and grants as required, to human assets by promoting functional literacy classes among adults and helping parents send their children to school instead of work, to social assets by building clients‘ confidence to engage in community affairs and strengthen their social the network, to natural/physical assets by undertaking watershed managements for the development of natural resources (MoUDH PIM, 2016). When describing the specific role of the program, it tries to improve the food security and income condition of households as well as the living environment of communities to address livelihood insecurity of the urban poor.
The program uses a combination of safety nets and livelihood services to attain sustainable food security and poverty reduction among the urban poor living below poverty level. According to the UPSNP manual (MoUDH, 2016), regular and predictable cash transfers are provided which consequently smoothen and improve the quality of consumption and reduce food gaps of the urban households. Besides, the life skill trainings that are provided to the clients will improve their employability and financial assets which will enhance their food security status in the future.
The cash transfer obtained directly or indirectly from the program is one income source for the beneficiaries. In addition, the program‘s second component targets on providing livelihood support to those who are engaged in public works. In other words, it increases employment and livelihood opportunities for them. Livelihood trainings will give them opportunity to involve in self-employment or employment into better jobs. As per MoUDH (2016), the financial supports that will be granted after graduation allow them to engage in better work opportunities so that they will generate private income.
Beneficiaries with conditional transfer participate in public works engaging in physical environment activities. The public work activities stated in MoUDH (2016) are urban beautification and greenery activities, integrated watershed management activities, urban agriculture, environmental cleaning and construction/rehabilitation of social infrastructure (such as latrines, schools, health centers, roads) activities.