Last week, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a US$75 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA) for the Adaptive Social Protection for Increased Resilience Project (ASPIRE) to support Haiti’s efforts to establish an adaptive safety net system to respond to shocks, including COVID-19, and reduce vulnerability to food insecurity and future disasters.
Javier Suarez, World Bank Acting Country Manager for Haiti, said, “Social protection systems have the potential to enhance human capital, reduce inequality, build resilience, and end cycles of poverty. This project provides immediate resources to help the most vulnerable households, while also supporting Haiti to establish the foundations of a social protection program to build resilience and develop human capital in the medium term.”
The ASPIRE project will provide immediate support to poor and vulnerable households while increasing their resilience through regular unconditional cash transfers and measures to improve health, nutrition, and financial inclusion. The project is designed to enhance the cash transfer program in the case of emergencies, such as natural disasters or health crises. In addition, the project will help build the capacity of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MAST) to improve management and governance of social protection programs.
Unconditional cash transfers will be provided to an estimated 18,000 families (or 90,000 individuals), with a focus on families that are extremely poor, located in rural areas prone to natural disasters, and living with small children, pregnant women, or persons with disabilities. The project will initially focus on the Grande Anse department in Southern Haiti. The project will also establish the foundations to operationalize the National Social Protection and Promotion Policy and allow for an additional 200,000 households to be registered in the social registry of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor.