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The National Poverty Observatory  Mauritius
The National Poverty Observatory  Mauritius

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Country Paper Presentation by Mr Dana Chengan MACOSS 25 TH November 2016 Think Tank Meeting on the SADC Regional Poverty Observatory and National gtgt Poverty Observatories CONTENT ID: 583338 Download Presentation


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The National Poverty Observatory Mauritius

Country Paper




Dana Chengan, MACOSS



November 2016


Tank Meeting on the SADC Regional Poverty Observatory and National

>> Poverty Observatories Slide2


Poverty in Mauritius

Overview and Report

Poverty Observatory

Contribution of CSOs to fight Poverty.

Institutional Support and Funding Agencies

Government Policies and support



Poverty in Mauritius

No extreme poverty in Mauritius

the proportion of the population living below the poverty line as defined by the World Bank, namely below $1.25 (PPP) per day, is non-existent in Mauritius

Yet - relative poverty is growing slowly and the income gaps are widening as a result of diversification and structural changes in the economy

Government has put in place poverty abatement programs

However, the substantial financial resources invested in these programs are yet to show measurable results


of monitoring


Poverty in Mauritius

Mauritius is portrayed as a social, economic and development success story in Africa.

Since its independence in 1968, it has constantly heightened the democratic processes, improved its infrastructures and communications technologies; enhanced the health and education systems.

It has made remarkable progress in maintaining its economic growth and an improvement in the standard of living – annual rate of 5% of growth over the past quarter


Poverty in Mauritius

This evident

growth is the result

of extensive social programs and safety nets financed by the welfare state which include

free health services and free education,


old-age pension, free transport for the elderly and full time students, and various social services which have contributed to better the life of individual.

Side by side there has been significant

social progress

which is validated by higher life expectancy at birth, universal primary and secondary education and higher level of adult literacySlide6

Poverty in Mauritius

Statistics Mauritius – 2012 Household Budget Survey

Definition of poor family - “a family consisting of 2 adults and 2 children and receiving less than Rs 13,310 (370 USD) as monthly revenues”

However, more than 9% of Mauritian families fall into this category (

33,600 families out of 335,000)

Children were more prone to poverty. Estimated 42,100 children in relative poverty out of a total of 285,900 children

In 2008 the National Empowerment Foundation (NEF) carried out a survey and identified 229 pockets of poverty hosting about 7,200 households living the lowest level of relative poverty. Slide7

World Bank Report ( 2014)

Mauritius has been doing well in terms of the twin goals of reducing extreme poverty and improving the well-being of the bottom

line - 40

% of the population.

They indicate that extreme poverty is


In absolute terms, poverty has declined from 8.5 percent in 2006-2007 to 6.9 percent in 2012, associated mainly with the stable and strong economic growth experienced

In relative terms poverty has increased from 8.5% in 2006-2007 to 9.8% in 2012 associated with an increase in income disparity between the medium household and those below the medium.Slide8

Root Causes

of Poverty

The most vulnerable one are most particularly those who:

Are uneducated or has a low level of education

Are poorly empowered to adapt to changing economy and technical improvements

Have household headed by women with great risk of social exclusion

Have family head addicted to drugs and alcohol

Are unemployed and facing difficulty to accede to employment opportunities

Are facing hunger with one meal or a poor diet per day

Have no convenient shelter and Hygiene

Are marginalised and are subject

to social ills such as prostitution and drugs Slide9

In relative poverty


estimates of poor households & persons are based on figures rebased according to 2011 Population Census data - CSO 2011Slide10


of Poverty

Those more exposed to poverty and economic vulnerability are female headed households, young people (particularly children


Many women are still employed in low skilled, low paid jobs

Expiration of multi-


and AGOA agreements in the textile industry, most textile industries became uncompetitive and closed down while some have

automated their system.

Declining exports caused the EPZ to lose 25% of its


force over the past years leading substantial unemployment levels among women.

Female entrepreneurs have difficulty

in taking benefits to


facilities and empowerment.

Many housewives in rural areas do not have decent revenue or are still dependent on their working husbandsSlide11

Poor - By profile of head

(CSO 2011)Slide12

Pockets of Poverty

Many single headed (female) households

Five to eight children

Only one room

Along with Free education, the government is providing a lunch to the children

Most children do not attend

school; No

proper breakfast and



of the poor in the

pockets of

poverty are squatters.


skills and

educational attainment

furthering the


of opportunities;Slide13

Poverty Observatory in Mauritius

2009 – Mauritius Poverty Observatory launched

by the Minister of Industry Science and



Observatory aimed to

analyze the impact of policies and projects on the population and to assess what works and what did notIt would study poverty with the participation of the poorIt

would adopt a qualitative methodology to (make it possible to) understand poverty

It would

operate as an independent observer of the on-the-ground


MRC (Mauritius Research Council)


the responsibility of the


Poverty Observatory in Mauritius

However, the poverty observatory did not last


Reasons for failure


not detailed

enoughFindings vague without proposed solutionsI

nappropriate and different to

local conditions. Slide15

Poverty Observatory in Mauritius


- the



has agreed to the setting up of a Poverty Observatory under the aegis of the Ministry of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment The Observatory would, among others:

Act as

a repository for Information on poverty.

Commission research

and studies on poverty and social development

Coordinate the process of monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of


Marshall Plan on the eradication of



the Minister of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment on policies that reflect the changing parameters of poverty and its impact on vulnerable groups.Slide16

Contribution of Civil Society in the fight against Poverty

MACOSS is an umbrella organisation for NGOs with currently 370 members

It promotes social and community development with the participation of its Member Organisations and volunteers

MACOSS acts as a facilitator for NGOs and develop capacity building

MACOSS , in collaboration with UNDP, launched the PEN (Poverty Eradication Network) in 12 Poverty-driven areas in Mauritius since 2015. This initiative will also support the Marshall plan.Slide17

Contribution of Civil Society in the fight against Poverty

Support to Non-State Actors

The underlying goal of the


Agreement governing the European Union’s cooperation with the African-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) group of nations is to reduce and eventually eradicate poverty, in line with the objectives of sustainable development and the gradual integration of the ACP countries into the world economy

Within this context,

Cotonou recognises the complementary role of Non-State-Actors (NSAs) in the development processDecentralised Cooperation Programme – a joint effort between the Government of Mauritius and the EUSlide18

Contribution of Civil Society in the fight against Poverty

Grants ranging from


400,000 to


1,000,000 allocated to NGOs for the implementation of Social projects with particular focus on poverty alleviation. (2013)

462 million for 434 projects with NGOs on alleviation of Poverty since 2015.10


EDF - DCP - Direct Support to Micro-projects for Poverty Alleviation and encouraging partnership approach among NGOs - Mauritius - 2014Slide19

Contribution of Civil Society in the fight against Poverty

The PEN project

Creating Ownership - The fundamental approach is to strengthen the local/community based system, develop local economic sector and empower the people in their living environment.

Assist in empowerment.

Capacity Building to lead, to analyse, to take decision according to their needs and requirements.

Develop local solutions (for adaptation)

Collaborative approach with Private Sector, NGOs, Public Institutions, Technical Institution

Facilities - Education, sports, infrastructure, equipment and technology


a ‘feel good Factor


of best practices.Slide20

Support to NGOs

CSR Policy

Private sector contribution – 2% of profits with new Strategies and policies in view.


Trust Fund financing


projectsLove Bridge Project a community and humanitarian program which aims to be part of a long-term vision to foster nation building and to promote positive human values and support.

Special collaborative programme for support to women and children in distress

International funding (US, Australia, etc.) Slide21

The National Empowerment Foundation (NEF)

A government



It implements


and projects to support vulnerable persons and families to move out of poverty and empower them with a view to integrating them into mainstream societyThe main objective of the NEF is to provide a range of



services :

adults follow a training and employment


and as a result engage in


leading to a decent income

children go to school and succeed in their studies


enjoy an improved living



lead a


development process resulting in an improved quality of life for community residents

marginalized groups become successfully integrated into

the societySlide22

NEF – Executive Arm of the Ministry

Between 2009 – 2012 trained and reskilled 13,875 unemployed person under the training and placement program out of which 7,447 were successfully retained for employment

16, 573 school children from vulnerable families in Mauritius and around 5,000 in Rodrigues benefitted from school materials

3,000 children of pre-primary and primary schools are benefiting from the package of services that includes among other things free meals, transport, free schooling and school materials

Literacy& Life skills training are delivered to people of deprived regions to help rebuild the human and social capital.

Micro enterprises( cattle rearing in


– community based



Support to improve academic performance and reduce dropouts

Aids prevention and support

Assistance to women and children in need or abusedSlide23

The National Empowerment Foundation (NEF)

NEF activities are implemented district wise with the support of NGOs under the following broad pillars:

Placement and Training

Housing and Community Empowerment

Child and Family Development Programme Slide24



Global Policies


September 2000,

the government

of Mauritius took an important step ahead in the quest to eradicating poverty by committing to the United Nations Millennium Declaration along 188 member states of the United Nations.

Accordingly, the Government introduced several targeted empowerment and poverty alleviation programmes to empower the disadvantaged and improve accessibility to social services which are implemented through various Ministries and other



being a welfare state injects billion of rupees yearly




Widening the circle of opportunities to target the most vulnerable groups holds a significant position in the Government of Mauritius policies as indicated by its ten year economic reform programme (2006-2015). Slide25




Accordingly, the Government introduced several targeted empowerment and poverty alleviation programmes to empower the disadvantaged and improve accessibility to social services which are implemented through various Ministries and



Cabinet has also agreed to the introduction of the Social Integration and Empowerment Bill in the National Assembly soon.  The object of the Bill is to promote social integration and empowerment of persons living in absolute poverty within the philosophy of enhancing social justice and national unity to:    (a)       combat absolute poverty



 (b)       provide support and other services to persons living in absolute poverty;


 (c)       support persons living in absolute poverty to integrate the mainstream society.Slide26

Poverty Alleviation



: Trust Fund for “La


contre L’exclusion”- restyled as TFSIVG below now NEF1997: Committee on Poverty set up by the President of the Republic (this is only advisory)1999: Trust Fund for the Social Integration of Vulnerable Groups (TFSIVG)- restyled to EAP then to NEF1999




(Self-help Project) in Rodrigues-completed


: A




- A poverty alleviation


funded by EU-ongoing


: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-Phases I, II & III-ongoing”






(DCP) funded by the EU and which is ongoing


: National Empowerment Foundation (NEF); formerly, the Empowerment


- fully operational


: Eradication of Absolute Poverty (EAP)- absorbed by National Empowerment foundationSlide27

Social aids/pension to needy people

Basic Retirement Pension (BRP)

Basic Widow’s Pension (BWP)

Basic Invalid’s Pension (BIP)

Basic Orphan’s Pension (BOP)

Guardian’s Allowance

Child AllowanceInmate Allowance

Other social aids Slide28

Government measures

Budget 2016/2017

Measures to combat poverty

Marshall Plan against poverty

New CSR Framework


Social Integration and Empowerment Bill will be presented soon by the Minister.  The object of the Bill is to promote social integration and empowerment of persons living in absolute poverty.  The Bill will provide for the setting up of such empowerment programmes or schemes as may be necessary to -

  (a)       combat absolute poverty



 (b)       provide support and other services to persons living in absolute


to integrate the mainstream society.Slide29

United Nation Development


UNDP in partnership with the government developed the Social Register in Mauritius tools.

The main purpose of the SRM project is to improve the targeting efficiency of social


so that limited programme resources primarily reach the poor (i.e. minimizing leakage to non-poor) and the poor are not excluded (i.e. minimizing under-coverage of the poor). 

The SRM initiative was introduced to modernize public resources management and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government spending. Slide30

Social Register In Mauritius

It was designed to become an exhaustive and centralized database of social


beneficiaries with the following objectives:

Better target


Manage social programmes in an integrated way.Better harmonize the criteria for the different social programmes run by different ministries.


cyclical and structural poverty reduction policiesSlide31

Marshall Plan against Poverty

Minimum guaranteed monthly income

Cash award for successful completion of studies at different levels for students coming from less fortunate families

Increase in monthly grant under crèche voucher scheme

Pilot project for integrated academic teaching and community engagement in 5 ZEP schools

Increase in meal allowance for students attending ZEP

Decent housing

Construction of 2700 housing units over the next 3 years

Rehabilitation programme of NHDC housing

Exemption of Land Transfer Tax on the Provision of Social Housing to Employees Slide32

Marshall Plan against Poverty

Special needs children

Removal of age limit for Basic Invalidity pension will be removed

Scholarship scheme for 5 students to pursue tertiary studies locally with a monthly stipend

Grant in aid to NGOs will increase by more than 50%

Monthly rental allowance for victims of accidental fire

Increase in Funeral grant

National Empowerment Foundation will be restructured

Setting up of a National CSR Foundation managed jointly by public and private sectorSlide33

New National



National CSR Foundation

Contribution of private sector (1% of profits in 2016/2017 and 1.5% of profits as from 2017/2018)

Priority areas

Poverty alleviationEducational supportSocial housing


persons with severe disabilities




abuse and poor


New guidelines for funding

Projects by NGOs

Projects by private sector/ foundationsSlide34


Poverty alleviation has seen a proponent of actions all around the world.

In some parts of the world it has shown good results while at other instances it is stagnant.

People's initiatives and voluntary action have helped in identifying the key elements in



There is an urgent need for continuous innovation and willingness to break away from the routine and conventional way of doing things.

The elements identified by this study

may be

critical for the design of poverty alleviation


. It provides

a sound basis for bold experimentation in this vital area of the development process of

a nation state.Slide35


A holistic approach

adopted to alleviate and eradicate poverty.

The involvement of some local NGOs intensively engaged in poverty reduction appear to have performed reasonably well and has changed the life of the poor to some extent through community action and participation


In Mauritius, NGO contributions in poverty reduction are reasonably limited. Their works

are relatively appreciable

in the context of the very slow progress in alleviating


In order to address the limitations and to enhance their performance, there is need for strengthening local institutions and linking with development agencies, scaling up innovative development program, building synergy with the government and the private sector, and engaging in advocacy for pro-poor development


The NGO capacity in dealing with these challenges will determine NGO contributions in alleviating poverty.Slide36


Definitional Issues:

A determination and setting up of a factual and representative measure of poverty in Mauritius would be the first




Policies All the policies administered have to be followed in terms of their effects, influences and implications.

Setting up of an


de la



with a

system of tripartite forum should be set up involving the government organizations, NGO representatives and business organizations/ donor agencies to assess the situation every three months



Social Register

tools to be made operationalized by the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reforms

Institutions and the NPO.

A social Audit report on Poverty alleviation projects (with checks and balances).Slide37


National Minimum Wage:

Implementation of a

national minimum wage

to reduce the worsening economic and income inequality to avoid shocks such as inflation which quickly push people into poverty.

Social Entrepreneurship:

One potentially promising strategy for improvement in poverty alleviation programmes is to encourage and support social entrepreneurship



for women need to be innovative, with extensive support and marketing strategies. More outreach and onsite


must be developed for low literate women.Slide38


Focused Youth Employment



Government need to conduct

periodical audit

in the economic and social sectors and forecast the human resources that will be needed for a period of 5 years. Youth Career Initiatives/ Life Skills: Innovative and high-impact approach need to be adopted to deal with youth unemployment and ensure career opportunities.

Women Empowerment and microfinance schemes:

The most vulnerable to poverty are women and children; therefore women should not only be involved as the main target but also as the main agency of program interventions. Slide39


Building Synergy among Agencies:

Government need to engage into more serious dialogue with the civil society to build

resilient partnership

to deal with poverty to avoid duplication of programs and wastage of resource.


local institutions and building linkages with development agencies: there is an imperative need for NGOs in ‘moving from development as delivery to development as leverage’ (Edwards et al., 1999). Specialized Training and Professionalization of NGOs:

It is widely confirmed by many studies that strengthening capacity is the best way for NGOs to make a lasting impact on poverty (Edwards,1999). Slide40


Scaling up the program intervention:

Without scaling-up the program intervention, the successful performance of NGOs remain little in a wider economic and institutional environment which is detrimental to the poor (


et al., 2000). NGOs need to become larger, more professionally managed, and more efficiently programmatic institutions


Engaging in policy advocacy: Advocacy in the area where NGOs lack proficiency. NGOs need to combine their delivery of services with advocacy activities.

Checks and balances:

Checks and balances, transparency, accountability, good governance are words that are increasingly used in democratic countries. Therefore, the need of checks and balances, transparency and accountability is highly crucial to ensure an equitable and sound development


Periodical meetings with Stakeholders to review progress. Slide41

Thank You!

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of Charity, it is an act of justice”

Nelson Mandela

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