Group photo of participants with representatives from the National Health Insurance Management Authority (NHIMA)
SP&PFM country project implementers and partners in Ethiopia and Uganda travelled to Lusaka, Zambia (9–12 May) for a learning exchange on sustainable financing of the country’s social protection system. The collaboration involved officials from the Ministries of Labour and Finance, social partners, representatives of civil society organizations and organizations of people living with disabilities and beneficiaries of various social protection schemes.
The exchange included a field visit to Kafue District, Zambia, where the participants interacted with beneficiaries of the Women’s Empowerment Programme to hear about the impact of social protection and to discuss the positive impact of social protection on reducing poverty and vulnerabilities. A critical learning from this interaction is the single-window initiative for identifying, registering, and delivering social protection benefits, including through the engagement of the community.
Group picture with beneficiaries of the Women Empowerment Program in Kafue district, Zambia
Such initiative contributes to improve coordination and efficient delivery of social protection programmes, as well as better monitoring through greater data collection.
Officials of Ethiopia and Uganda also heard about the work related to mainstreaming disability inclusion within social protection systems, as well as on-going reforms for the extension of coverage carried by the National Pension Scheme Authority, including through the digitalization of their administration systems and collection of information from actors of the informal economy (e.g., market traders, farmers, bus drivers and domestic workers).
Furthermore, the visit included an interaction with representatives from Zambia’s National Health Insurance Scheme on the ambition of achieving universal health care. Finally, the exchange concluded with discussion on the important role that civil society has in advocating for sustainable financing and universal social protection systems. This included the need for civil society to be purposeful and strategic in amplifying a collective advocacy voice during national budget development, national planning processes and the monitoring of social protection expenditures. The Ugandan participants from the Parliamentary Forum for Social Protection shared their experiences in social protection advocacy that had resulted in increased social protection financing, which underscored the engagement of policymakers to increase fiscal space for social protection.