Social Protection

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On 8 October 2005 an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale brought death and destruction to the northern parts of the North Western Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). This region had never before experienced devastation of this scale. Official estimates include 80,000 dead and a similar number of injured with a huge surviving population that is vulnerable to a number of factors. The victims were mainly from already vulnerable groups, living in comparatively inaccessible mountain areas with lower levels of income and service provision as compared to the national average. The population and social structures of the earthquake hit areas have been seriously affected by the number of human deaths. The earthquake had a particularly disparaging effect on the well-being of vulnerable groups. Women, children, elderly and
the disabled are among the worst off.

“By vulnerability we mean the characteristics of a person or group and their situation that influence their capacity to anticipate, cope with resist and recover from the impact of a natural hazard (an extreme natural event or process). It involves a combination of factors that determine the degree to which someone’s life, livelihood, property and other assets are put at risk by a discrete and identifiable event (or series or ‘cascade’ of such events) in nature and in society.”
Although all affected people in the earthquake affected areas are vulnerable to varying degrees, the Social Protection Strategy focuses specifically on the groups which are at greater risks; these include:
  1. Children (including separated, unaccompanied and orphaned)
  2. Women (including widows and single headed households)
  3. Elderly (both women and men)
  4. Disabled
The vision of SERRA’s Social Protection Strategy is to ensure that vulnerable people in the earthquake affected areas are provided basic social services, livelihoods assistance and support for rehabilitation primarily within their own families and communities and to establish linkages with the mainstream social welfare structures and services.
Given the overall increased vulnerability in the areas affected by the earthquake, and the mandate of SERRA for the overall planning, monitoring and regulation of reconstruction and rehabilitation in earthquake affected areas, the Social Protection Strategy formulates a 3-year plan of action to support the most vulnerable groups. It is designed to ensure their effective protection in the immediate to medium-term and establish linkages with the overall National Social Protection Strategy which integrates national social assistance programmes such as the Bait-ul Mal and Zakat, in order to ensure a continuum of assistance and social protection over the medium and longer term.

The Strategy also recognizes the Year 1 initiatives under ‘Support for Vulnerable Groups’ covered under the ERRA-UN early Recovery plan and seeks to effectively coordinate the inputs and activities being sponsored by UN agencies, NGOs and other agencies. The framework for the implementation of the Strategy encompasses the following:

  1. Data Collection through Targeted Assessment of Vulnerable Groups
  2. Planning and Coordination through SERRA with its DRUs
  3. Roles of Development Partners including effective Coordination of ERRA-UN Recovery Plan during 2006-2007
  4. Strengthening Social Welfare Infrastructure
  5. Monitoring and Evaluation through overall SERRA Monitoring Framework and project-wise.
Given the issues of Vulnerable Populations are cross-cutting, many of the activities proposed will be integrated in the Health, Education, Livelihoods and Governance Strategies. Additional technical and financial support would be sought from UN donors and NGO partners.
Financing: Implementation of this Strategy would be a collaborative effort of ERRA and other partners/agencies. The financing of various activities is accordingly apportioned among the partners. The budget included in this Strategy reflects both the direct financing of activities by SERRA as well as by other partners.

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