Reasons for AFAAL
According to a study prepared by the World Bank and the Ministry of Social Affairs, any person living under the extreme poverty line is any citizen living on less than $ 5.7 (1) a day. In addition to that, according to a study prepared by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, the number of Lebanese living under the extreme poverty line has reached 235,395 citizen (2).
It has also been shown that the level of school drop-out exceeds 50% (3), threatening new generations and multiplying the causes of extreme poverty.
The Lebanese government had developed a plan, based on which donations were received, including a comprehensive and objective survey of the poorest groups in Lebanon and the measures taken to improve their living conditions. At the time, the Lebanese government, in cooperation with donors, established the “National Program for Supporting the Poorest Families”, led by the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.
This program is similar to others, adopted in more than 30 countries including Brazil and Mexico, which have resulted in the reduction of the high poverty rate (4).
Whereas these programs aim to establish an integrated national system of “social assistance” to eliminate extreme poverty and improve the standard of living of the poorest families.
Several studies have shown that conditional cash assistance has been successful, particularly the fact that the beneficiary has not left his/her job nor stopped looking for a job (5).
It has been proven that one of the conditions for reaching the desired outcome, that is moving out of extreme poverty, requires continuity of conditional cash assistance for several years(6).
Since poverty threatens the safety and dignity of the individual, as well as social security and stability, the state is required to establish organized safety nets targeting Lebanese families living under the extreme poverty line;
Moreover, given that it is necessary to regulate well-founded social and economic spending provided to these groups, it is required to transform the “National Program for Supporting the Poorest Families”, after it has proved successful. That way the state assumes these tasks through the Ministry of Social Affairs authorized to support the poorest families and organize the aid provided to them.
For these reasons,
The attached law proposal was designed to establish the “Afa’al” program aiming to eliminate extreme poverty in Lebanon and organize and strengthen social assistance provided to Lebanese individuals or families living under the extreme poverty line. This program aims at providing conditional cash assistance worth one third of the minimum wage per capita or for a family consisting of two parents and a maximum of 3 children, with an increase of 11% of the minimum wage for each additional child. The program highlights the need for the full yearly conditional cash assistance budget forecasted in the Ministry of Social Affairs’ budget.
This proposal stems from the right of every Lebanese and family living under the extreme poverty line to receive cash benefits and social services.
1. Link the provision of cash assistance to the commitment of the “beneficiary” by:
a. Providing roof of enrolment and educational attainment of minor children, if any.
b. Attending vocational training courses that qualify the beneficiary to find a job opportunity; if not successful, the training will qualify one of the depending family members. If this condition is not applicable due to illness or disability, cash assistance will still be provided.
2. The Ministry of Social Affairs will implement the program "Afa’al" carrying out all the necessary tasks, including:
a. Providing monthly cash assistance that meets the basic needs of a family and helps these families move above the poverty line.
b. Training the “beneficiary” and providing vocational education to enter the labor market.