Data gaps undermine social protection progress

A report on levels of "social protection" in Samoa has identified that measuring the country's progress is undermined by a lack of data. 

Social protection consists of three components: social assistance; social insurance and labor market programmes. Each exists to varying degrees in Samoa. 

The "Social Protection Report" and was released by the Samoa Bureau of Statistics (S.B.S.) this week. 

The report said Samoa is currently developing better indicators of social protection in the country.

The aim is to develop measures of social protection in Samoa, under the Strengthening Resilience of Samoa through Social Protection Programme. 

The end goal is to assist the Government to develop an evidence-based system for improving Samoa's performance against Sustainable Development Goals.

The Sustainable Development Goals are a group of 17 United Nations targets for achieving more sustainable development by the year 2030.

The report highlighted this joint agreement would devise strategies to improve data production and quality for programmes to reduce poverty and vulnerability to socio-economic and climate related risks.

“Existing social protection initiatives and programmes are fragmented, limited in scope and not linked to any social protection framework,” the report read.

It also added that due to its fragmentation, Samoa’s social protection system consists of both informal and formal protections.

“The informal or the traditional social protection covers support from the community at large, the extended family and sometimes churches," the report said. 

“Due to its irregularity and unpredictability, there are no administrative data that captures its full extent and usage by different families. 

"On the other hand, the formal social protection can be defined as consisting of three key components: social Assistance; social Insurance and labour market programmes that have a varying degree of existence in Samoa."

The report says one organisation that deals with social assistance is the Adventist Development Relief Agency (A.D.R.A.) which is currently implementing a $1 million caretaker Government shelter building programme for vulnerable families around Samoa. 

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