Delegation of the European Union to Lesotho

Strengthening Governance of Social Protection in Lesotho: Building an Integrated Social Protection System

13/11/2018 - 09:47
Public Health and Social Protection

The objective of the programme is to update, expand and maintain a database used to support social protection programmes in the country.

Project overview

The objective of the programme is to update, expand and maintain the National Information System for Social Assistance (NISSA), a single integrated web-based database where the socio-economic information of all households in the country is securely stored to identify vulnerable populations. The tool is used by the Government to support social and safety net programmes in the country, such as, the Child Grants Programme (CGP), the Orphaned-Vulnerable Children Bursary Programme (OVC-B), and the Public Assistance Programme. 

The current programme builds on previous work done by the EU, the Ministry of Social Development and UNICEF to support people living with HIV/AIDS and children who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. It also aims to improve the coordination between existing social protection interventions implemented by the Government of Lesotho and other development partners.

NISSA is the pillar of the country's social protection strategy. It objectively and transparently targets and selects those sections of the population who are in need of support and thus maximises the impact of Lesotho's social protection system. The system can also be uNational Information System for Social Assistance (NISSA) for targeted social protectionsed to conduct research on beneficiaries' needs. NISSA helps eliminate the duplication of grant disbursements, ensures the integrity and security of grant recipient records and, provides a single source of access for targeting of vulnerable populations.

NISSA is part of a wider programme to strengthen and integrate Lesotho's social protection system, a system that assists the most economically and socially vulnerable populations of the country to ensure that they receive the kind of sustainable social assistance and services that they need.


 December 2015 - August 2022

Implementing Partner

The Ministry of Social Development

Implementing organization

UNICEF Lesotho

Benefitting Zone



Social Protection Safety Nets in Lesotho


331,000 rural households in  64 Community Councils have been registered in the National Information System for Social Assistance (NISSA) database. Urban households will be uploaded on to the system by May 2020.

NISSA has already been used in several emergency interventions across the country including those by led by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), the World Bank, and other development agencies.

Facts and figures

The Lesotho Child Grants Programme (CGP), the programme NISSA was initially aligned to, is an unconditional social cash transfer programme that provides support to very poor and vulnerable households caring for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC). It is managed by Ministry of Social Development (MoSD) and its main objective is to help families to meet the health and education needs of children. 

The Orphans and Vulnerable Children bursary programme (OVC-B) targets children under 18-year-old who are enrolled in secondary school or technical vocational education and training institution. The OVC-B covers 28,000 children with a grant of M2,500 to cover tuition and other related school fees. The amount is paid directly to the schools for each child. It too is managed by the Government of Lesotho.

The Public Assistance programme (PA) provides support in cash or in kind to the destitute. The PA currently covers an estimated 12,500 beneficiaries who are registered on to the PA programme by MoSD officials. The programme is managed by the Lesotho Government.


Total Cost

€16 million

EU Funding Instrument

European Development Fund 11 (EDF 11)

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