IPC-IG researchers conduct interviews on digital innovations in social protection for rural populations in Turkey, Jordan and Morocco 

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International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) researchers conducted interviews with representatives of Turkey, Jordan and Morocco who work or have worked with social protection digital programmes and tools in these countries. The information gathered during the interview and during a literature review will be used in the development of case studies on the potential contributions and limitations of digital innovations for rural social protection in different countries.

The team will analyse how rural populations have benefitted from different types of digital innovation, which include digitalization of beneficiary registries, their identification, benefits payment process as well as ways of monitoring social protection programmes. 

The interviews were conducted under the scope of the project "Assessing social protection system performance and leveraging digital innovations in rural areas", developed by the IPC-IG in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Through the interviews, the team was able to learn about Turkey’s e-Devlet system and the country´s Integrated Social Assistance Service Information System (ISAS); the Takaful 2 programme in Jordan; in addition, they were informed of a postal bank called Al Barid Bank and the mobile banking units used to deliver the Tayssir benefit in Morocco.

Turkey’s ISAS is an integrated beneficiary registry that digitally facilitates all steps related to the management of social assistance, including registration, assessment of eligibility requirements, disbursement of funds, and auditing. Based on the interview with a key informant from the Ministry of Family and Social Policy in Turkey, "ISAS continues to function as a beneficiary registry and has incorporated more people since the pandemic. In 2 weeks, there were 4 million requests during the first phase of the pandemic. This system is now being used for the application of all social protection programmes".

The E-Devlet portal is an e-government platform that allows access to all public services for citizens and government agencies through information technologies. In the interview with representatives of the platform, strategies used during the pandemic to cover social protection demands were addressed. According to a key informant from the  Digital Transformation Coordination Department—Presidential Digital Transformation Office in Turkey, “all the social aid applications from different ministries and the ISAS were transferred and processed by the system in a matter of few days. There were also digital and non-digital tokens provided for procuring the social assistance services. New applications could also be made on the platform”.

Morocco’s Tayssir is a cash transfer programme for children, and the interview focussed primarily on the digitalisation of payment delivery through the Al Barid postal bank and mobile banking units. The key informant from Tayssir explained how the transition to mobile payments occurred. He highlighted difficulties such as delivering the payment for families living in remote areas and the costs of delivering the payments. Even though the programme administration is working on this transition, they also kept the traditional modalities for populations who still find it difficult to open their accounts (or face any other kind of difficulty). 

The key informant from the Jordan’s National Aid Fund (NAF) spoke about the Takaful 2 cash transfer that was implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, building on the pre-existing infrastructure of its predecessor, Takaful. The key informant explained that only in 2019, social assistance provided by NAF was expanded to poor families. Previously, the only eligible households were those whose heads were persons with disabilities or who could not work (due to either age or disease) or were imprisoned. He explained how the country’s Single Registry has helped include these people and assess their eligibility for social assistance. In addition, the informant discussed how interviews with the families were carried out through digital tools during the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to less time spent and lower expenses with transportation. 

The interviews were conducted by the IPC-IG’s researchers Gabriela Perin, João Pedro Dytz and Nourjelha Mohamed, with support from the research intern Varsha Lakshmi Valiya Parambil.

For August, the team expects to conduct further interviews on digital innovations used in Argentina, Uganda, Cambodia, Togo, and the Philippines.

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