Social Safety Nets Save Malnourished Children in Togo
A large number of children in Nadjote, a small village located 18 km from the city of Dapaong, suffer from serious malnutrition. In order to combat this suffering, the Togolese government has established a safety net program aiming to financially help the most vulnerable households.
Specifically, the government set up a cash transfer program to provide financial assistance to households with malnutrition-suffering children in Togo.
This program is intended to provide a brighter future for children from the most disadvantaged families. Moreover, this program encourages households to obtain birth certificates for their children, offer them with education and health care.
Abna Kolani is one of the beneficiaries. She gave birth to seven children, but three of them died of malnutrition. As a beneficiary, during the past 12 months, she has received monthly financial assistance of 5,000 CFAF—around $9—for the children’s feeding and education.
According to the World Bank article, Abna noted that “With the money I receive each month to provide my youngest child with better nutrition, I can provide healthier food for all my children. I see a big change in their physical condition— their health and hygiene conditions are much better than before.”
“When they are sick, I can take them to the health center to receive care. In addition, the program has allowed me to send my eldest child to school and now all four have birth certificates.” Abna continued.
The project was launched by the Togolese government in 2013 and supported by the World Bank and the Japanese government.
Cooperating with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the program is aimed for parents with children between the ages of 0 and 24 months in the Kara and Savanes regions where malnutrition rates are extremely high.
Nanifei Lardja is another mother living in Nadjote mentioned in the World Bank article. Naniferi has five children, and she says, “I buy corn for 2,000 francs, soap for 1,000 francs, and small fish for 1,000 francs. I have my small plot for the vegetables I need and put aside the remaining 1,000 francs for other possible expenses.”
The program gives her not only material support but also confidence for a better future with her children.
“We are very pleased to note that the support activities organized, in particular the educational talks on the rights of children, nutrition, health and basic family practices have produced largely positive effects,” said Joachim Boko, a Social Protection Specialist at the World Bank.
According to Pounpouni Koumaï Tchadarou, the Regional Director for Social Action in the Savanes region and Program Coordinator, this program offers much more than mere financial assistance. Besides the 5,000 francs supplement, this program also provides a range of services, such as reminders of regular prenatal care and children’s register.
“We do everything to ensure that school-age children attend school. We also do home visits to heighten the awareness of the beneficiaries regarding the role played by good hygiene in improving the health of their children,” said Tchadarou.
“One day, you will come back here and see that the children you have helped have become teachers, nurses, and doctors,” said Yom Kouloukitibe, one of the 14,016 recipients to date of this financial assistance.
– Shengyu Wang
Sources: World Bank 1, UNICEF, World Bank 2