Social Protection


Sector Lead: UNICEF

Agency Focal Person and Alternates Email Phone Number
UNICEF Mohammed Shafiqul Islam 51650236


Lesotho is a lower middle income country with a poverty rate of 57 per cent and one of the most unequal countries in the world with a Gini coefficient of 0.53. Recognizing the role of social protection in addressing poverty and inequality, the country has demonstrated extraordinary commitment by implementing a good number of core and supplementary social protection programmes. The core programmes include Old Age Pension, Public Assistance, Child Grant and School Feeding while the supplementary programmes include Free Primary Education, Agricultural subsidies, etc. The Government’s allocation to social protection as per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is one of the highest in Sub-Saharan Countries. In order to make social protection investments more efficient and effective, both at development and emergency situation, UN Organizations along with European Union (EU), World Bank, other donors and CSOs in Lesotho have embarked on strengthening the social protection systems to effectively respond to chronic poverty and emergency. Specific support of the UN (with specific support from the European Union) includes, consolidation of key policies and strategies, integration of existing programmes to address age-specific vulnerabilities, linking social assistance programme with livelihoods of vulnerable population, improvement of institutional arrangements and administrative tools and strengthening of coordination mechanisms at national and sub-national levels. The social protection system is underpinned by a robust National Information System for Social Assistance (NISSA). NISSA is a nationwide single integrated web-based database in which socio-economic information on all households is stored to identify vulnerable population, and target eligible beneficiaries including the most vulnerable children and women for different social protection programmes through reduced inclusion and exclusion errors; improved accountability and coordination. Currently, NISSA covers more than 64 per cent of all rural households in the country; and progressively will cover 100 per cent households (about 365,000) by end 2018. NISSA will be fully decentralized by 2020 and provide a rigorous and accurate targeting mechanism during emergencies.