The World Bank Board of Directors approved US$ 200 million in additional financing for the Social Protection Systems project in Ecuador. The new resources will support the implementation of the national strategy Ecuador Crece sin Malnutrición to reduce malnutrition in pregnant women and children under 24 months through the provision of comprehensive service and benefits packages.
The financing expands the Social Protection Systems project approved in April 2019. The project has helped to make programs of the Ministry of the Economy and Social Inclusion (MIES) more equitable by reaching those who need it most through an improved beneficiary selection mechanism implemented by the Social Registry. Additionally, it has provided technical assistance to enhance program effectiveness through monitoring, evaluation, and institutional strengthening.
“The government is working to improve the living conditions of Ecuador’s most vulnerable population. To this end, these resources will be used mainly to address one of the country’s most pressing structural problems – chronic malnutrition in children,” said the Minister of Economy and Finance, Simón Cueva.
This second loan will finance activities in 728 parishes in the country and will help strengthen a new institutional model – the Continuous Updating Model. This will enable the government to streamline and integrate the social registry with other large national administrative databases. Additionally, it will strengthen the integrated provision of child development programs and basic health care services to pregnant women and children aged 45 days to 24 months. The Ministry of the Economy and Social Inclusion, the Ministry of Public Health, and the Social Registry Unit will implement these actions.
“Ecuador’s national Crece sin Malnutrición is a key intervention of the Government of Ecuador to protect the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 recovery phase and to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, said Marianne Fay, World Bank Director for Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru. “International evidence demonstrates that early intervention during pregnancy and the first two years of life with a complete package of education for parents and health check-ups is crucial for preventing chronic malnutrition,” she said.
The additional financing is a variable rate, fixed-spread loan, with an 18-year maturity period, including a five-year grace period.