Lusaka, July 11, 2019, ZANIS---Government says it has made significant progress in reducing poverty and vulnerability in the country through the implementation of social Protection Programmes.

Minister of Community Development and social services Olipa Phiri says poverty reduction is a key element in stimulating economic development in any given society.

ZANIS reports that Ms Phiri said this yesterday when she officially opened the three day 2019 joint Annual Review workshop taking place in Lusaka.

According to Ms Phiri, the multi-sectoral approach in the implementation of social Protection Programmes is helping in the enhancement of the poverty reduction strategy.

The Minister of Community Development and social services underscored that working in clusters has accorded ministries an opportunity to share ideas.

"This approach also builds synergies and improve coordination in order to develop joint solutions to challenges faced by the cluster. The cluster has thus espoused joint budgeting and program implementation for the year 2020," she stressed.

Ms Phiri cited social Cash transfer scheme, and Cash Plus as among the programmes that are being implemented.

She urged all the participants to fully come up with recommendations in the next two days that will help policy makers to access progress of the social protection programmes.

Meanwhile, United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Country Representative Noala Skinner said social Protection Programs are a sure way of reducing poverty and vulnerability among the people.

Ms Skinner cited social cash transfer scheme as the flagship social Protection program that has impacted positively on the lives of the people.

She emphasized that the social protection programmes being implemented by government and its cooperating partners have led to the drastic reduction of cutting down of trees for survival.

Ms Skinner urged government to enhance the implementation of school feeding program especially in drought prone areas.

And the Department for International Development (DFID) Head of office in Zambia Mark Richardson said his firm will continue working with government in implementing the social Protection Programmes.

In a speech read on his behalf by Social Development Advisor Leah Gaffney, Mr Richardson reiterated that social Protection Programs beneficiaries should also be sensitised about climate change.

He further expressed optimism of his firm relentless support for social Protection Programmes in Zambia.