US$62.5 million earmarked to support social assistance programmes in Vietnam

Nhan Dan – The Vietnam Social Assistance System Strengthening Project was officially launched on August 7, with the aim of developing and piloting innovations in management and service delivery in four provinces in Vietnam, as a first step towards nationwide implementation.

US$62.5 million earmarked to support social assistance programmes in Vietnam

The project is the product of a partnership involving the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), UNICEF, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the World Bank (WB). The funding of US$60 million for the project comes from the International Development Association – the WB Group’s lending arm for low-income countries – while the remainder is sourced from Vietnamese Government capital.

To be implemented during 2014-2018, the project focuses on strengthening social assistance service delivery systems by reducing fragmentation of services, improving targeting through building a strong database on recipients and adopting more efficient delivery mechanisms.

It consolidates the existing database into a national database of poor and near-poor households and social assistance beneficiaries, laying the foundation for programme consolidation and improving the effectiveness of public spending on social assistance.

According to the Minister of MoLISA, Pham Thi Hai Chuyen, the project affirms the Government of Vietnam’s determination to boost innovation in social support systems, with the overall objective of building a modern management and implementation system for social support programmes, towards ensuring an adequate standard of living for all citizens and contributing to sustainable poverty reduction.

In the four pilot provinces of Ha Giang, Quang Nam, Lam Dong and Tra Vinh, the project tests the strengthened, consolidated cash transfer programme by putting existing and new cash transfers for poor households with children and pregnant women into a ‘family package’ which can guarantee income security for poor households in the long run. The programme will be delivered through improved management and service delivery systems.

Around 500,000 disadvantaged families with children and pregnant women in the four localities are expected to receive benefits and parenting advice in a timely and accessible manner. Local social officers will benefit through simplification of processes and associated reduction in workload, while programme administrators will benefit from enhanced ability to monitor programme implementation and support for policy formulation.

The project also supports the Government’s overall objective of poverty reduction through emphasising the role of social assistance system in enabling poor children to reach their full potential and break the intergenerational transmission of poverty.