The Rapid Response Register (RRR) for the COVID-19 Cash Transfer optimizes targeting the urban poor beneficiaries
In January 2021, Nigeria launched the Rapid Response Register (RRR) for the COVID-19 Cash Transfer, to complement the already existing platforms under the World Bank supported National Social Safety Nets Project (NASSP), which were capturing and registering the urban poor and vulnerable populations across Nigeria.
As stated by the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, at the launch of the RRR, as of 31st December 2020, about 24.3million poor and vulnerable individuals into the National Social Register have been identified and registered, equivalent to about 5.7million households.
Before Covid-19 the majority of the Social Protection beneficiaries in Nigeria were the rural poor, but when the pandemic struck in February 2020, a new set of vulnerable groups of people at risk of falling into poverty emerged, who were not previously captured in the social register, particularly those urban informal workers who suffered job loss due to business closure and restrictions of movements. It was then that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management and Social Development, working with the NASSCO, designed the Rapid Response Register (RRR), to rapidly identify, register and support them.
One of the most important push that digitalization efforts in Nigeria have had in the last year, particularly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, comes from the experience exchange in the frame of the Community of Practice (CoP) of Cash Transfers in Africa, where African countries come together to share ideas and learning.
As stated in an interview with Apera Iorwa, National Coordinator of the Social Safety Net Coordination Office in Nigeria, and CoP Steering Committee member, Nigeria was able to learn from the experience of countries like Ghana, Cameroon and Malawi on reaching the rural communities in the face of the lockdowns, while designing the RRR for Covid-19 Cash Transfer.
Sharing lessons learned among countries facing the same challenges was a great way to implement a strategy to target beneficiaries in rural areas where banking infrastructures aren’t present, where people don’t have access to phones. For example one of the shared solutions was the use of community structures to give access to common phones.
“What we are doing with the RRR is building a framework with shock responsive strategy for Nigeria”, says Iorwa. During last year’s CoP online event the Brazil experience highlighted the success of the Emergency Aid 2021 Program, which aims at guaranteeing a regular flow of income to the population with lower levels of per capita income, due to the continuity of the economic crisis generated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Brazil presented what they are doing in terms of targeting in the country, and not only it was a great learning opportunity for African countries but also “helped build our confidence that we are on the right path”, continued Iorwa.
The RRR is now a foundation for Nigeria’s Social Security System, a major outcome for the National Social Protection Policy (NSPP).