Delivering results for children through a locally funded social protection programme
The Sabang District government launched Gerakan untuk Anak Sehat (Geunaseh) in 2019. Mandated by a major decree, Geunaseh is a locally funded social protection programme that forms part of an integrated programme on maternal and child malnutrition. UNICEF and Flower Aceh supported the formulation of policies and guidelines, behaviour-change communication and integrated information systems. Geunaseh began as a pilot programme, complementing other existing government social protection programmes targeting children. These combined initiatives make Sabang the only city in Indonesia with a social protection programme for all children under the age of 18. Monthly cash-based assistance, amounting to IDR 150,000 (USD 10) is distributed to households with children aged 0‒6 whose name are included in the family card and have a birth certificate.
Geunaseh aims to avert potential long-term health problems caused by malnutrition by supporting children through a social protection scheme that provides cash assistance to households, enabling them to meet their children's nutritional needs and ensuring their access to essential health services.
The practice primarily contributed to the achievement of Goal 1. Cash transfer has allowed parents to access health facilities and to meet nutritional needs of their children. Programme conditionalities are tailored to contribute the achievement of other goals. Parents are required to bring their children to integrated health post, allowing them to maintain health status or receive treatment when needed (Goal 3). Requirement concerning birth certificate possession encouraged the parents to register their children’s birth, which improve child rights and government civil registry (Goal 16).
Geunaseh began as a pilot programme, complementing other government social protection programmes to benefit children, such as: clean water and sanitation, positive parenting, integrated health management in early childhood and cash-based scholarship assistance for students aged 7‒17 The various programmes targeting children represents a vision of “Kota Sejahtera” (urban well-being), in line with national priority. At the preparatory stage, UNICEF supported the Sabang municipal government in drafting a major decree No 21 of 2019 on Geunaseh as a locally funded social protection scheme. The decree stipulates key provision, coordination mechanisms, and the role of local stakeholders, including village authorities. Following the issuance of the decree, a Geunaseh Secretariat is established to facilitate coordination and support the implementation. Subsequent trainings targeting service providers down to the village levels are then organized. UNICEF support the development of management information system, including software and hardware, to ensure accurate targeting and monitoring. UNICEF also support the development and dissemination of communication for development materials to build awareness and call for participation from the community. Throughout 2019, Sabang government distributed of direct cash assistance amounting to IDR 9 billion (USD 620,000) to approximately 5,000 children aged 0-6 years.
• Geunaseh programme reached 4,109 children in 18 villages during its initial phase. By June 2020 it had reached more than 5,227 children throughout Sabang city. • Possession of birth certificate as a requirement to receive the financial assistance has brought significant increase the number of certificate registration. In November 2019 the percentage of children with birth certificates rose to 98 per cent, from 92 per cent in 2018. • Children’s attendance at health clinics rose from 62 per cent in August 2019 to 92 per cent in July 2020, indicating the effective use of the financial assistance to address health related needs of household recipients.
• Requiring birth certificates to access social assistance can motivate parents to legally record their children’s birth. It benefits child rights) and population data improvement. • Birth registries can be improved by engaging village authorities. Geunaseh encourages parents whose children are not registered to report to the head of the village. • This locally funded social protection programme was effective in part due to the decentralized nature of development planning and budgeting. • It is possible to increase children’s visits to integrated health post, further linking social policy and health care.
UNICEF and Flower Aceh together with Sabang Government are working to finalize a five-year roadmap for Geunaseh Sabang. The roadmap aims to ensure ensure programme sustainability and will be implemented as an umbrella policy and programme for child-responsive initiatives in Sabang.
Implementation has been hindered during pandemic, particularly in the conduct of programme monitoring. UNICEF has been providing technical assistance toward the programme during pandemic by adopting health protocol, to which the government started to comply.
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City of Sabang in Aceh