The poor and vulnerable are usually characterized by severe material deprivation which manifests in their inability to: obtain an adequate income; find a stable job; own property; and maintain healthy living conditions. Further, the poor lack an adequate level of education, cannot satisfy basic health needs, in poor health, and have short life span. The poor is in persistent social conditions of poverty and transmission from one generation to the next. They often lack the capacity to escape from their situation by themselves except they are assisted.
As stated in various literatures, those often affected by poverty/vulnerability to poverty in Nigeria usually include:
- Young children
- Pregnant mothers
- The elderly
- Inhabitants of rural areas and marginal urban zones
- People who have not been integrated into the society
It must be stressed that being in any of the listed above does not make one to be poor or vulnerable to poverty. Rather, there must have been some conditions that predispose them to poverty and the inability of those of them that have fallen below the poverty line or are vulnerable to poverty to come out of poverty. They must also exhibit some welfare outcomes which make them poor in the society that they live in. Field experience also revealed that the poor and the vulnerable are usually:
- Unable to eat adequately (e.g. three square meals per day)
- Always in tattered clothes
- Unable to send children to school
- Live in poor housing units
- Beg for food
- Cannot cook good food
- Cannot afford health bills and make recourse to self-medication/patronize unorthodox health care providers
- Cannot find job to do
- Have low level of or no education
- Have lost bread winner or do not have children to take care of them
- Cannot come out to mix in the community
The existence of coordinating platform and database is expected to assist in ensuring effective targeting that minimises errors of inclusion and exclusion, reduction of duplication of efforts, reduction of double dips, good monitoring and better impact evaluation of the programme outcomes.
Social protection is the protection of those who fall temporarily or persistently under levels of livelihood deemed unacceptable or are likely to do so. It is not the promotion of a general standard of opportunity and livelihood for all citizens. It is made up of social security (comprising social assistance and social insurance in developed economies) and Social Safety Net (SSN) in developing economies. SSN is a non-contributory transfer targeted at the poor and vulnerable. It is a safety valve to prevent people from going further below the poverty line by cushioning them against shocks or risks that can further jeopardize their livelihood status. It consists of transfers in cash and kind, income generating activities e.g. public works and protecting human capital.
The manual for the National Social Safety Net Project (NASSP) under the Social Investment Programme of the Federal Government, is a revision of what was originally designed as a users’ guide for the selection and management of beneficiaries for the Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO) but now modified for use as a guide in the selection and management of beneficiaries in National Social Safety Nets Programme (NASSP). The NASSP includes targeted interventions including a based and conditional cash transfers.
The program uses a combination of targeting methods including geographic targeting, Community-Based Targeting (CBT), and the application of a Proxy Means Test (PMT) for identifying and screening poor and vulnerable households for its interventions. The database of identified poor households, families or individual called State Social Register of Poor and Vulnerable Households SRPVH or Social Register of Poor (SRP) or simply Social Register (SR), can be used for selecting beneficiaries for NASSP and other targeted social safety net programs in the future as part of a social protection system.
An important feature of this manual is the articulation of a series of steps that would not only lead to gathering information on the poor and vulnerable, but also how to ensure that such information is translated into a secured data that could be of value to a different stakeholders.
The concepts of poverty and vulnerability have come to stay in welfare discourse. Though, the two are interrelated, they do not necessarily mean the same. While poverty is a static concept dealing with those that are poor at that point in time (i.e. analyzed at a point in time), vulnerability is a dynamic concept looking at not only those that are poor now but those that are likely to become poor or move out of poverty at a future date. Hence, poverty is an ex post measure while vulnerability is an ex ante measure of condition of living. Figure 1 below provides further insight to the difference between poverty and vulnerability. Vulnerability can be seen as movement into and out of the poverty pool. The vulnerability of a household can therefore be viewed within the context of the risk chain with three interrelated components
A household here is defined as group of people living together, eating from the same source and impacting on the well-being of each other either by contributing resources to or taking resources from a common pool.
Poverty is the lack of command over commodities (such as food and non-food items, key assets and social determinants) essential for human development leading to pronounced deprivation in well-being or welfare. Vulnerability on the other hand, is the risk that a household or individual will, if currently non-poor, fall below the poverty line, or if currently poor, will remain in poverty. It is also regarded as exposure to adverse shocks, rather than to poverty under a multidimensional view. When uncertainty or shocks occur some individuals are able to manage it and still maintain their welfare level, but some are not able to and so they experience welfare loss. Such individuals are vulnerable to poverty. The poor are particularly more vulnerable, because they already have difficulty in their welfare situation and so with a shock or sudden debilitating events, they fall deeper into poverty.
Dimensions of Poverty and Vulnerability
Poverty is usually considered from money-metric and non-money-metric approaches. The money-metric approach uses money as the yardstick to determine level of poverty of a given individual or household. This approach uses either income or consumption as the basis for determining poverty. However, because of the weak income data and the possibility of non-reportage of actual income by people in developing economies, the consumption expenditure is seen as a good measure of money-metric poverty. Hence, individuals or households are rated poor or non-poor based on their expenditure on basic needs for healthy living. From the perspective of non-money metric poverty, different dimensions of living are normally used including asset, poor health, poor nutritional status, low level of education or illiteracy, lack of (access to) basic services, social exclusion, insecurity, lack of freedom and voice and lack of empowerment. In this kind of approach, poverty is viewed from the different aspects of life which cannot be easily monetised but which affect the status of individuals or households. This approach is also referred to as multidimensional poverty.
It must be stated that poverty can be analysed on individual, household or community (geographical) basis. Community poverty deals essentially with lack of or inadequate basic social infrastructure essential for good living by a defined geographical entity which then limits the well-being of inhabitants. Hence, communities can be regarded as poor relative to each other and this can be used to select poor communities using geographical targeting. Household poverty relates to inability of households to meet basic needs of life for its members while individual poverty talks about inability of an individual to meet basic needs essential for healthy living. ex ante (preventive risk management strategies) or ex post (risk mitigating and coping strategies).
World Water Day: CCIDESOR urges citizens to take enough water, wash with clean water in the face of COVID-19
Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR) has urged citizens to always take enough water, wash their hands with clean running water in the face of the Corona Virus.
This year, World Water Day is focused on the interconnectedness of water and climate change. Water is the repercussions on the supply of drinking water, sanitation, and water used for food and energy production. Or in other words, as suggested by climate-change experts,
Against this backdrop, young people are increasingly recognized as the driving force for action behind the climate movement – and for injecting water into the climate agenda. Currently, more than half of the global population is under the age of 30, making it the largest youth population in history and the ones who will be most affected by the climate change induced disruption of water resources.
Having launched several initiatives linking both water and climate change, here are three key lessons from global youth to advance an inclusive and effective climate action agenda: Raise awareness and Be an advocate
Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR) has decried the high rate of discrimination and calls for change of attitude.
This year, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is focused on the midterm review undertaken by the Human Rights Council in Geneva as part of its 43rd session. As the Decade approaches its half-way mark in 2020, a review will take stock of the progress made and decide on further necessary actions.
There are around 200 million people identifying themselves as being of African descent living in the Americas. Many millions more live in other parts of the world, outside of the African continent.
Whether as descendants of the victims of the transatlantic slave trade or as more recent migrants, people of African descent constitute some of the poorest and most marginalized groups. They still have limited access to quality education, health services, housing and social security and their degree of political participation is often low. In addition, people of African descent can suffer from multiple forms of discrimination based on age, sex, language, religion, political opinion, social origin, property, disability, birth, or other status.
The United Nations General Assembly reiterates that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and have the potential to contribute constructively to the development and well-being of their societies. In the General Assembly also emphasized that any doctrine of racial superiority is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous and must be rejected, together with theories that attempt to determine the existence of separate human races.
The United Nations has been concerned with this issue since its foundation and the prohibition of racial discrimination is enshrined in all core international human rights instruments. It places obligations on States and tasks them with eradicating discrimination in the public and private spheres. The principle of equality also requires States to adopt special measures to eliminate conditions that cause or help to perpetuate racial discrimination.
As the women all over the world celebrate their day, Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR) has asked them to seek for more positions and not relegate themselves to the background..
International Women Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people.
Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific. ‘An equal world is an enabled world’. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.
As the International Day of Happiness is being celebrated, Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR) has urged citizens to be happy as it is their rights even in the face of scourge of corona virus to be happy.
It would be recalled that the International Day of Happiness is celebrated across the world every year on March 20. It was instituted to promote happiness as a fundamental human right for all human beings. The International Day of Happiness is celebrated in order to recognize the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world.
The theme of 2020 is ‘Happiness For All’, the World Happiness Day theme 2020 is all about being happier together.
The theme mainly focuses on what we have in common instead of focusing on the things that divide us. The very first International Happiness Day was observed on March 20 in the year 2013 and since then it is being celebrated every year.
CCIDESOR called on the citizens, while they ensure hygienic living in the face of the corona virus by using hand sanitizers and steady washing of hands to always remain happy as it is their fundamental human rights to be happy.
CCIDESOR Monitors Cash Transfer OF Federal Government to Poor, Vulnerable …Commends FG’s effort to address high rate of poverty
Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR) as the Third Party Monitor (TPM) of the Federal Government/Worldbank Supported National Social Safety Nets Projects (NASSP) has commended the federal government for its effort in addressing the high rate of poverty in the country.
The essence of the monitoring was to ascertain the effectiveness of the Poor and Vulnerable Households of the NASSP process among the beneficiaries and the knowledge of the beneficiaries on the intention of the program which is to reduce the level of poverty in the country using the Household Uplifting Program(HUP).
The Government of Nigeria realizes the urgency required to turn the tide of poverty and vulnerability in the country and has recently taken important steps to set up the foundations of a national social protection policy in support of the pro-poor agenda. A social protection coordinating platform has been set up in the Office of the President to provide oversight to all social safety net interventions at Federal and State level and a Social Register of poor and vulnerable households has been established at the State and National level.
As part of a social investment program, the government has increased the budget allocated to social protection programs at the Federal level, and preliminary foundations are being laid out for the establishment of an electronic national ID system. Despite these efforts, major challenges remain. Nigeria spends less on social protection than every other lower-middle income country and most of its regional peers. Instead its fiscal space is taken up by subsidies. The limited amount of social protection programs that do exist suffer from low coverage, weak targeting, and is devoid of any linkages to productive opportunities for its large and growing youth population.
CCIDESOR will continue to monitor to ensure that the intention of the federal government in the elimination of poverty is achieved especially in Anambra State of Southeast where the organization is serving as Third Party Monitor. The capacity of CCIDESOR having understood the peculiarities of the state and others has facilitated the effort of the federal government
Poverty is multi-dimensional including economic, social, political, cultural, and geographical. Nevertheless, we define it as the inability of individuals or households to access adequate income or consumption to satisfy their basic needs such as food, clothing, housing, others are water and sanitation, health care, education, and transportation. One may ask, why poverty? The fact remains that the budget has the capacity to make the society poor once it is not effectively planned nor put to use. There is an organic link between the budget and either the prosperity or poverty of the citizens.
The basic aim of development is to encourage sustained economic growth and structural change in the economy as it affects output and employment generation. Structural change in terms of composition of output, structure of employment by sectors, reduction in poverty and inequality and participation by all in the growth process is also considered.
Despite the fact that poverty is multi-dimensional, government through its fiscal policy can focus on certain sectors of the economy that have the highest potential to stimulate growth and ensure adequate linkages with the rest of the sectors. This will ensure structural changes that can positively impact on output, employment and distribution of benefits of growth.
Nigerians are less aware that the decisions the leaders make in the comfort of their offices affect their economic position. There is need for citizens to improve their economic literacy and be in a position to know when the governments are doing what the budget says and when they (Governments) are taking personal decisions at the expense of public resources.
Suffice it to say that the whole processes of budgeting in the South-eastern States like many other states of the federation is shrouded in clandestineness, thereby shutting the people out from contributing/participating in the budget processes or monitoring and this is against the principles of democracy.
Two states in the region are significant producers of crude oil and natural gas (Imo and Abia States) and as well share similarities of a petrol industry and political economy. Across a range of industrialization, the south-east has the least numbers of publicly quoted companies in Nigeria. Over all, the south-east economy is more informal and employs less graduates than other regions. Unfortunately, this region of all the intellectuals is most under-developed in all ramifications because the spate of abandoned projects is high, given that the budget too is not transparent and inaccessible.
Government without citizens’ participation is ‘private business at public expense’. Once the citizens have developed the capacity and literacy to monitor the budget, they can properly evaluate the way the elected representatives manage public resources. This evaluation will enable them to follow up projects because they have access to the budget and can understand the contents and know when a project is said to be completed.
The absence of the budget in most states, especially in the south-east has organic link with the growing poverty in the country. Except the federal government whose budget is in the public domain, one can hardly find any budget in the south eastern states, either in hard or soft copy. By the time some of the budgets are seen, the year would have gone and expenditures done with.
Publishing the budget immediately will also help investors, local and foreign, take prompt business decisions. Unfortunately, what we have when budgets are presented is budget speech which does not give details of income and expenditure for the year.
The economic sense of completing old projects before embarking on new ones is manifold especially that when they are completed with quality, the services they are meant to provide will still be available.
Completing old projects by building them up in the 2020 budget will stop the use of more lands that could be used in agricultural purposes, since when they are completed, they will serve the purposes for which they were started in the first place. Any government that does this, would have scored a political capital goal that generation next to come will remember and make reference to, irrespective of who started the projects. The south-east region is the lowest in terms of public spending since their annual budget has been the lowest among all the six regions in Nigeria. This means that if the spate of abandoned projects continues, the region will suffer, especially more economic hardship.
Once the old projects are completed appropriately, timely with quality, leaders will be free from the chains of shame, unnecessary anxiety and unjust actions. The essence of political leadership which is provision of security, peace, development, welfare, and happiness of the citizens would have been achieved. It attracts citizens’ confidence and admiration to leaders and a re-election during decision moments.
Completion of projects will serve as a stepping-stone to raising or getting more funds from sources: government, donors, the masses, voluntary donations, and others. The unemployment ravaging the country would have been fought. No society can be said to be thriving whose budget is not open and accessible as the old projects are not completed.
In the words of Adams Smith, no society can surely be flourishing and happy of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable. Great leaders never set themselves above their followers excerpt in carrying out responsibilities. The governments should understand that they are holding the positions in trust for the citizens. The only way to return the trust is to cause the budget to address some of the scattered old projects that could have provided employment for the teeming unemployed youths.
There is need for the government of Imo State to begin to divert attention to the completion of the abandoned projects scattered over the state. There is no democratic sense in starting new projects when old ones are yet to be completed for citizen’s use. The waste of resources consumed by the abandoned projects should bother the executive, the legislature and judiciary, even the citizens. There is no playing politics with what affects the generality of citizens.
When huge sums of money are earmarked for projects and they are not completed to the benefits of citizens, the short and long term intentions are eroded. Government of the day can change the narrative of governance if they exert and expedite effort in ensuring that uncompleted projects irrespective of who the original initiator is, are completed.
The need to make democracy work for citizens is at the moment the only solution to myriads of development problems that Nigeria faces since the return of democracy in 1999.
Democracy can work for citizens when their resources are effectively and transparently utilized to deliver the dividends of democracy. But since 1999, citizens have been lamenting over the non delivery of democracy dividends while elected representatives and appointed public officers have consistently maintained the fact that they are delivering these dividends.
At the centre of dividends of democracy is the effective and timely implementation of capital projects which help to improve the standard of living of citizens. When the completion of capital projects implementation is delayed or abandoned, then democracy dividends have either been delayed or denied. But if the qualities of projects are poor, then the citizens have been short-changed. When government spends public funds on capital projects that don’t get finished or is abandoned, then dividend of democracy is delayed or denied.
To ascertain what causes the delay of democracy dividends to citizens, Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR) during her USAID project with focus on abandoned projects in the state, did mapping of abandoned project in Imo State which from 2010-2014, where about 121 capital projects were mapped. Out of the 121 capital projects, 32 were completed but not qualitatively, 51 projects were ongoing/uncompleted, while 34 projects were abandoned. 4 projects were not sighted. The projects monitored are within the core projects that could enable the improvement of citizen’s health and Knowledge – Health, education and works. were not identified nor started. Most of the projects are still not completed. The rate of capital project implementation is obviously poor and slow. In some cases they are abandoned, which is the major factor responsible for delay in delivering of democracy dividends to citizens.
In the last six years, Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR) has through its NED grant been able to support citizens’ in building their capacities and economic potentials. It also provided trainings, to increase capacities of citizens in the South East for active participation in democratic processes and form community partnership base to engage their elected representatives. The initial project styled “Democracy Clinic” introduced to citizens economic litracy, voter education and inclussive participatory democracy.
In the second phase of the grant, citizens’ engagement with their elected representatives were put on the front burner leading to the profiling of elected represetatives and their score cards in the South East, Nigeria. As part of the achievement of that project was the creation of Citizens Accountability Assembly (CAA), most of which are community based organisations (CBOs), in the five states of the South East Nigeria. This marked the building of a strong partnership base and platforms for citizens direct engagement with their elected representatives.
The abondened projects monitoring was a project conceived in 2015 to monitor projects in Health, Education and rural roads infrastructure in Imo State. It covered projects awarded between 2010 and 2014. Two local governments were selected in each senatorial district for monitoring.
In the exercise, we discovered over 280 out of the 300 Rescue Mission primary schools building projects, the 30 Rescue Mission General Hospitals and 15 kilometre rural road projects most of which the government had sank in huge sums of money and resources were abandoned at various degrees of completion.
The Report of that monitoring was documented and distributed to citizens to engage their leaders. Prior to the publication of the report, community based stakeholders were engaged in meetings to validate our findings. Overwhelmed by the reports, citizens provided more information on abandoned projects that we didn’t have access to in their respective areas, some dating back to over ten years.
The implication of these, are; that vast resources of the state which were ploughed into these projects became sources of waste, abuse and corruption. Projects implemented in the states are usually intended to serve ultimate beneficial purposes to the citizens when completed and put to use.The joy of the people and faith in government increase when they are able to realise the full benefits of the value of projects cited in their localities.
The discovery of these huge volume of abandoned projects in just a short span of four years in a single state motivated our quest to extend the drive to profile projects that have direct bearing with the socio-economic life of citizens to other four states in the South East namely; Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu states.
To undertake this project, a desk research was conducted to identify primary causes of these monumental cases of abandoned projects litered all over the South East. Citizens were also interviewed. Our findings revealed some of the factors responsible for project failures as;
- Engagement of unqualified contractors lacking capacity in their various fields,
- Poor project conception,
- Absence of needs assessment
- Poor project implementation monitoring and evaluation,
- Delayed/Under funding of projects,
- Egocentric and ambitious projects,
- Lack of continuity,
- Corruption and abuse of office, and
- Political patronage
- Poor priortization of projects.
About 200 projects were randomly selected and monitored in the entire South East. The projects monitored were projects abandoned for a minimum of two years and maximum of ten years. We selected projects that have direct bearing with the welbeing of the citizens particularly in Health, Education , Rural Electrification, Road Infrastructure, Water and Sanitation.
For the purpose of the monitoring, projects were segregated into three categories namely; completed projects, ongoing projects and abandoned projects, To determine abandoned project some factors were also considered. The length of time work stopped and the presence of contractor on site are major signs of abandoned project. Two years were taken as reasonable time to declare a project abandoned. Over 90 percent of these projects monitored were found to be in various stages of abandonment. In the entired South East, over 1000 projects were anticipated to have been totally abandoned. The implications of these are waste of public resources running into billions of naira, increased corruption and stagnation of growth and development. It is worthy to that note some of these projects have become havens for hoodlums, mentally deranged persons and constitute environmental danger and pollution.