From Protection to Production: Complementing cash grants with enhanced production capacities

From Protection to Production: Complementing cash grants with enhanced production capacities

06/10/2014

In the community councils of Litjotjela and Maloaneng, Leribe District in Lesotho, Mrs Masekhametsi Hlomoka and Mrs Sesinyi Ramatekoa are beneficiaries of a pilot initiative complementing Social Protection cash grants with home gardening in-kind support helping families to improve their food intake and nutrition.

Mrs Masekhametsi is 56 years old. She is a single mother who looks after her two sons. She started receiving a child cash grant two years ago. Mrs Sesinyi is 65 years old. She lives with her retired husband and her four children and started receiving the child cash grant in 2011. The Child Grant Programme (CGP) is a Social Protection programme implemented by the Ministry of Social Development and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) with financial support from the European Union. It targets ultra-poor and very poor households with children.

FAO is collaborating with CGP to assess its impact and complement cash grants with a home gardening productive package. This pilot initiative benefits 780 families enrolled in the CGP in Leribe District and is implemented by FAO in partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) through Rural Self-Help Development Association (RSDA). Families receive a kit of 50 g of six different varieties of vegetable seeds and training on home gardening techniques such as keyhole and trench gardening. Mrs Masekhametsi receives the grant for each of her two sons – 16 and 11 years old. She also received the vegetable seeds and training at the end of 2013.

She says: “I have planted the seeds I received last year using the techniques I learned during the training. I built a keyhole and I have harvested a lot of vegetables.” She explains that she ate the vegetables, and also sold some of them. She used the money from their sale to buy meat and eggs especially. With the child cash grant, she was able to pay the exam fees for her elder son, who is in High School, as well as buy food for the household.

“I am so grateful for receiving this support; I usually go in the surrounding villages for finding domestic work and bring money home. I am now more available for my children even though I still need to work a lot to meet my needs.” Mrs Masekhametsi wishes to have larger plot so she can produce more food and supply local schools with vegetables. “I would also like to have poultry so I can produce eggs and sell them to schools of the area.” she says.

A bit further away in the same area, Mrs Sesinyi benefits from the same support. She receives the child grant for her 13- and 7-year-old children. The others – aged 20 and 24 years – do not qualify for the grant. “This year, I have planted the vegetables in a keyhole and I have noticed a better quality of the crops and I harvested them for a longer period.” She happily mentions that she had more variety than usual and the household kept the whole production for their own consumption.

Thanks to the child cash grant, she is able to buy school shoes and uniforms. “It has brought a big change for my household. Especially, it helps borrowing money from neighbours as they know we regularly get cash which will allow us to reimburse them.”
Prior to receiving the grant, she would seek piece jobs such as weeding or harvesting fields to meet the needs of her household.  

Mrs Sesinyi says that she does sharecropping with fields that she owns. She has four cattle that she uses for working the land and 20 chickens that she raises for their meat and eggs. She continues, hopeful: “If I was to receive the grant for a long period of time, I would like to build a pigsty and get a business going.”

FAO is currently assessing the impact of this pilot project complementing CGP cash grants and home gardening support so this approach could be further replicated and upscaled in other CGP areas. This pilot project was funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the impact assessment is being undertaken by the Protection to Production project implemented by FAO in seven countries worldwide.