In fact, a recent book from FAO and UNICEF, including a chapter on Lesotho, focuses entirely on the role of evidence in consolidating the CGP (Pellerano et al
Creating ‘facts on the ground’ The second important feature of the programme’s design was that it created visible ‘facts on the ground’. As the programme’s coverage expanded, and more people heard about and benefited from the programme, there was increasing bottom-up demand for new areas to be covered. Politicians also started to seize the opportunities for electoral gains and used the CGP during their campaigns to show they supported social welfare. In a country where nearly 60% of the people live in poverty, it is important for politicians to be seen to care.
Lobbying, to increase national support for the CGP, took place in a variety of ways. It helped that the EU is a big donor, which meant doors that might be closed for smaller organisations were open to them. Field visits and high-level breakfast meetings were organised by the EU and UNICEF for ministers and other politicians. In addition, personal commitment and good relations at a high level were important in maintaining support for the programme.
Conclusions While the three key stakeholders: the EU, UNICEF and the GoL worked together, the EU as the funder wielded strong influence
, 2016). However, I think evidence played only a limited role in convincing the Minister of Finance to take over the programme because the main and robust research reports arose only after the agreements between the EU and GoL were signed.
Nonetheless, evidence contributed substantially to overcoming resistance and misconceptions about the programme once it was in place. I think research played the biggest role in this transition process by providing continued reassurance to the GoL that the CGP was a good, effective, and efficient programme that created tangible results on the ground and thus deserved its allocated budget.
One should be cautious to see this transition process as a blueprint that can be directly copied elsewhere. Contractual agreements do not necessarily ensure that that same contract is adhered to, especially when budgets are under pressure and key stakeholders keep changing due to elections or endings of posting-periods among international staff.
It must also be said the while the GoL continues to honour its agreement to take on board the funding of the transfers, the inclusion of new households has been insufficient to meet the targets set out in the NSPS, unless additional efforts are made. Also, the absence of a pre-existing social protection framework and the accompanying systems in Lesotho, made it possible to design the CGP and its systems from scratch. In different circumstances, where one would have to consider and cooperate with other programmes, systems, and stakeholders, this would have been more complicated
There are naturally also limits to the extent lobbying can be successful. If the EU was a smaller donor it would probably face more difficulty in accessing the right people. If the social protection funding landscape would have been more fragmented, and more donors would be willing to fund the CGP, Lesotho’s Government might have less incentives to take over.
The programme also benefited from political support for the programme in a stable period in Lesotho’s political history. Moreover, it is important to note that, while there is evidence, some people in the bureaucracy and within political circles remain sceptical about the programme. The perception of cash transfers being a handout that fosters dependency is hard to overcome with yet another impact evaluation.
In fact, the CGP would not have been realised if they had not funded the pilot and its subsequent development stages. Nonetheless, they depended on UNICEF for the day-to-day operations and on the GoL to implement the programme and take over.