Last webinar of the series on social protection reforms and triangular cooperation initiatives in the Maghreb region reflects on shock-adaptative social protection systems 

Photo: Canva/Camila1111

A webinar titled “Building rapidly adaptative and resilient social protection systems: Lessons learned from COVID-19 and Social Registries”, held on 1 June 2022, was the fifth and last session of the webinar series “Reforms of social protection systems: South-South and triangular cooperation initiative in the context of the Maghreb". 

This fifth session closed the series and featured speakers Dalitso Kalimba, Deputy Director of the Poverty Reduction Division and Social Protection from Malawi's Ministry of Economic Planning, Public Development and Public Sector Reform, and Rodolfo Beazley, an independent consultant and an expert on social protection. 

Beazley explained in his presentation the difference between the two types of social protection management information systems (MIS)  commonly used: the Integrated Beneficiary Registry, which is created based on the integration of data from the various existing social assistance programmes—configuring itself as a limited database, since it only deals with information about beneficiaries that are already served by social assistance—and the Integrated Social Registry, which appears as an interesting alternative in crisis or shock situations, as it allows the data of the potentially eligible population to be gathered into a national database. 

Kalimba further developed Beazley's statement by using the example of how Malawi's Unified Beneficiary Registry(URB)—which, despite its name, is an Integrated Social Registry—enabled the horizontal expansion of the Social Cash Transfer Programme during the economic crisis triggered by COVID-19. Beazley emphasised that the faster horizontal expansion of a programme coverage is possible because the Social Registry contains information on people potentially eligible for social assistance programmes, consequently allowing faster responses to shocks. 

The representative of Malawi´s Ministry of Economic Planning also explained that the creation of the URB was initiated in 2015 by the government, revealing a concern with the fragmentation of the country's social protection system at the time. Six years later, in 2021, the URB reached the entire national territory. Today, it covers up to 70 per cent of the population, including beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries of social protection programmes. 

Both speakers reflected on the need for continuous work to update the data of registered households, as well as the need to integrate the various government information systems to serve even people who do not benefit from any programme or are not registered in the Social Registry. 


About the webinar series “Reforms of social protection systems: South-South and triangular cooperation initiative in the context of the Maghreb”  

The series is part of the project Facilitation of South-South learning sessions on social protection systems between Maghreb and Latin American countries and aimed to create a space for sharing experiences between government officials from Morocco, Tunisia, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa. The goals included: (1) to support reflection and facilitate decision-making in Morocco and Tunisia in a context of economic recovery following the impacts of COVID-19, and (2) support structural reforms of social protection aiming at universal coverage. 

It is an initiative funded by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and organised in partnership with the World Bank, the French Development Agency (AFD) and the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG).  

All sessions were held through the platform and attendance was limited to guests, aiming to maximise interactions and discussions between government representatives on the challenges facing their countries. 


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