Takuful
Ministry of Social Development

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
The Sultanate of Oman is a developing nation with a population of about 4.5 million based on the National Statistics and Information publication in Feb 2017. The local Omani population is about 2.4 million and about 1 million is under school going age. About one-third of the population lives in Muscat government which is also the capital of Oman. The rest of the population is scattered across 9 other rural regions. Due to the vast regions and scarce population distribution, reaching out to the disadvantage groups such as the disabled, elderly, orphans and women in the rural region was one of the biggest challenge for the Ministry of Social Development. As Oman progresses in a knowledge-based economy, these groups risked being left behind. Under the Royal Decree no 87/84, social security law was implemented to ensure that families and individuals in need of assistance are supported and their well-being looked after. This groups include the elderly, handicapped, divorcees, widows, orphans, single women, and family of prisoners, abandoned family and special cases. Since 1984, these citizens were given assistance through financial benefits and other related aids. However, due to the remoteness of some of the regions and lack of information, Ministry of Social Development (MOSD) could not provide the benefits targeted to the real needs. As a result, only financial benefits were given in most cases. All documentations were manually process and archived. It could take at least 3 months or more to validate and approve the cases before proper assistance can be provided. Moreover, there was no integration with other ministries or government bodies. Any person registering for assistance with MOSD would have to register with other government bodies for other services such as for government housing, educational loans, special health needs, etc. He/she would have to visit multiply agencies and repeat the information every time. There was also the challenge of following up with each case as all cases were archived but process manually. In this case, those requiring specialised assistance would have to go through the entire validation cycle once again. This caused much frustration and led to further deprivation of social assistance to the underprivileged and disadvantage groups. Clearly a seamlessly integrated process and initiative is essential in order to ensure that sustainable goals of eradicating poverty and hunger, ensuring access to quality healthcare services and education remain accessible to the group of disadvantage Omanis. A multi-prong approach to eradicate poverty and bring the lowest rank of the society into the knowledge-based economy. This would ensure that MOSD services and privileges for poor people and low income families, can be extended to other benefits provided in cooperation with other government entities like housing, education, employment, etc. This is in line with the objectives of MOSD which is to work towards improving the conditions of the families and individuals covered under the social security in residential, economic and social aspects in the sultanate.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
Takuful is the enabling initiative which helps social workers to investigate every potential beneficiaries from every region in order to ascertain their actual situations before recommending them for the social benefits programme. In this case, a holistic concept can be adopted and implement to ensure the attainment of sustainable development goals for the underprivileged groups of Omanis as about 60k beneficiaries had received assistances since its implementation in 2012 and another 81k cases are currently being assisted under this initiative. Takuful helps to galvanize other government entities, non-government organisations as well as private organisations in improving the well-being of underprivileged citizens and ensure that they are not left behind as the sultanate progresses.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The Takaful initiative is an entire electronic social security system which supports the MOSD in taking care of the underprivileged and disadvantage groups in Oman. The main objective of this initiative is the creation of a central information system regarding the social beneficiaries in order to provide prompt, efficient and effective services to the citizens. Now, the social workers or investigators can gather all the information about the individual and his/her family and upload them onto the system even remotely via mobile connectivity. MOSD services is dedicated to assessing and supporting the professional preferences of the potential beneficiaries to provide financial, social, psychiatric and medical assistances that helps them to integrate into society. This is done in close collaboration with government and private entities, applicants will have their needs assessed and top priority will be given to providing them with the best opportunities that suit their requirements and the integration of such citizens into main stream society. All information regarding the applicants are stored in a central system which is integrated to other government entities such as the Ministry of Housing, Health, Education, Higher Education and Manpower. This is essential because each beneficiary may not only access financial allowance but he/she may be able to obtain further assistances from other government entities such as for public housing, educational benefits for their school-going children, specialised healthcare support for those requiring medical treatment and job opportunities for jobseekers. This is a more holistic approach to render assistances, and not just doling out of financial aid (which was between USD$210 – 687). Through this initiative, affected citizens can get the social security forms online or register at one of the 44 departments and centers across the sultanate. Through a related service known as Nasel Elik or Get to your services, any other citizen can also report such cases to MOSD through the website or contact centers. Their cases are then forwarded to social workers in each region who would carry out detailed investigations and ascertain the actual needs and situations. Through streamlining and clearly defined processes, the approval for each case has been reduced from 12 weeks to 1 week which denotes a reduction of 11 weeks or 91% of waiting time. Furthermore, with detailed information, social workers in each region are able to link beneficiaries to Ministry of Housing to address his/her housing needs, Ministry of Manpower for beneficiaries who are jobseekers or requiring further training to be employable, Ministry of Education for those with school-going children, Ministry of Health for those needing medical attention, or any of the private organisations who are providing assistances as part of their social responsibilities programme. For example, one of the largest oil and gas producers, under their social investment programmes for one of the regions in Oman, established a special entrepreneurship programme to equip women in the interior regions to become entrepreneurs in cottage industry. This programme is designed to run parallel with the other assistances provided by MOSD and related organisation. In this case, MOSD can fully concentrate their efforts and resources to identify the potential beneficiary and provide them with a holistic programme offers by government entities and other organisations so that the poor and underprivileged citizens can become economically sustainable and not left to struggle for survival on their own. In addition, with an integrated backend system, follow-up on cases can be done seamlessly, effectively and efficiency. This eradicates duplication of records in multiple organisations and ensures accuracy of data and information about each case. This efficiency is evident in the number of cases managed. In Feb 2017, MOSD supported a total of 81k citizens which is an increase of 158% as compared to about 51k citizens in 2010.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Integration and re-engineering of business processes enable MOSD to reach out and provide basic and specialised benefits to the underprivileged and disadvantage groups in Oman. Some of the services provided by MOSD include the care and rehabilitation of disabled and individuals with special needs, care for Disabled Children Service, and care for the Elders Service and family services. Through the Takaful initiative, MOSD streamlined its business processes in order to make it easy for applicants to register their needs and professional assessment carried out by social workers to ascertain their actual requirements. Hence, MOSD was able to cut down processing time from 12 weeks to 1 week and reaching out to more citizens in needs. Linking up social beneficiaries to NGOs with services in each region enable the beneficiaries to access proper healthcare, education as well as housing and utilities within their regions. Potential beneficiaries and citizens can request for assistance through many channels and obtain all the required information needed for the investigation stages which expedite the process tremendously. In addition, through Nasel Elik – Get to you services, anybody in Oman can report to MOSD about anyone needing help. At the same time, they can also register complaint about MOSD services which go straight to the minister.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The Ministry of Social Development was established to take care of citizens in the sultanate. The ministry role includes the following; a. The achievement of social care, which includes social security, relief and emergency assistance, and social research. b. Expand the work of the ministry through the launch of social development projects which include community development, productive families, awareness-raising programs and livelihood projects. c. Stimulating community to contribute to the sustainable development process. d. Equality and equity in life opportunities for Omani within a framework of social integration. e. Promote volunteerism and provide care and social protection for all groups of society. f. Reduction of poverty and marginalization problems. g. Building the capacities of women, developing their capabilities, giving attention to their issues and to be within the priorities, policies and plans of social development. h. Increasing the involvement of government and community in development and social projects, in collaboration with different state organs. In 2010, 51k cases with 114K citizens benefited from the services provided by MOSD. However, with the implementation of Takaful in 2012, more citizens received assistances. In 2012, the number of beneficiaries increased to about 81k cases with 182K citizens, 2013 the beneficiaries were about 84k cases with 184K citizens, in 2014 the number was about 85k cases with 180K citizens.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The Takaful initiative was developed and implemented by MOSD. The key implementation strategy was not the technical infrastructure, but the entire business re-engineering activities that took place to refine and streamline the entire process. This was the toughest and the most challenging task undertaken. After the back-end system was done, a pilot project was done in the district of Suwaiq in one rural regions. The aims of the pilot were to evaluate new forms used for the social researchers on the ground, assess the maturity of each cases and the on-going payment of benefits, extract reports on an accrual methodology, and evaluate the process and technical evaluation of the entire system. This pilot was essential as the data collection forms to aid investigations had to be reviewed and revised based on feedback on the ground. This was repeated several times before it could be finalised and implemented. Based on this trial, the entire process was streamlined and smoothened and more effective. Social workers can now obtain family data and update information on the field instantly. They can transfer the data to the office or another department automatically. Decision makers can now make immediate decisions based on comprehensive and accurate data and information. Following the successful trial in Suwaiq, MOSD conducted training for all social workers and professionals in Muscat and the rest of the regions. A total of 500 people were trained and the government funded the development of the technical infrastructure.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The Ministry of Social Development (MOSD) is the key government entity which design and implemented this initiative in cooperation with the Ministry of National Economy. MOSD successfully integrate their backend system with the other ministries such as the Ministry of Housing, Minister of Health, Ministry of Manpower, Ministry of Education and Higher Education. Other stakeholders which provide various support and assistances to the beneficiaries include large private organisations with social investment programmes such as oil and gas companies like BP Oman, Occidental Oman, and telecommunications companies like OmanTel, Ooredoo, and local banks like Bank Muscat and all the social non-governmental associations and organizations such as Oman Women Association, Oman Cancer Association, etc.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
1. Successful cases – Since 2012, there is a 158% increase in beneficiaries receiving various services and assistance from MOSD. At the same time about 51k beneficiaries have successfully attained sustainability and no longer rely on MOSD for assistance. 2. Timely assistance to needy cases and different needs – The approval time has been reduced from 12 weeks to only 1 week which is a reduction of more than 90% of waiting time. 3. Integrative Government Services – With shared database with other government entities, applicants received the required assistance based on their specific requirements in a much shorter time. They no longer needed to visit various government entities to repeat their stories at each office. By integrating the backend information with other government entities, it shortens the entire application process and enables beneficiaries to receive assistance from other related entities as well in a seamless process. 4. Protection of women against poverty and destitute - The Social Security Act which prevents women from falling into the trap of poverty and destitution. Projects carried out by MOSD to improve these women’s livelihood include the housing assistance programme for low income women and income enhancement programme. Through the Takaful initiative, in 2012, a total of OMR 121 million (USD$314 million) was disbursed to support about 81k beneficiaries. This initiative further bolsters the government’s efforts to protect Omani women against poverty and destitute which leads to the attainment of sustainable goals of eradicating poverty in all its forms, ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all and the achievement of gender equality and empower all women and girls. 5. Galvanizing the private sectors and social associations and organizations in supporting MOSD services through the social investment programmes – MOSD can now match the needs of the beneficiaries in each region with the various social investment programmes carried out by various large private organisations in each region. This enables MOSD to direct their resources to assist many other beneficiaries in the sultanate. 6. Accurate statistics and information - The output indicators from the Takaful system leads the decision maker in MOSD to start the Social Work Strategy which was done early this year. This will help to develop the social care. In addition this helps the ministry carry out joint-projects with International organizations, for example the International Bank which did a study about the Social Security Networks recently.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The main problem faced by MOSD in implementing the Takaful initiative is the resistance to change by the staff and social workers in the Ministry and affiliated organisations. The technical infrastructure was quickly overcome by bringing in competent company to develop the application and installed the infrastructure but the resistance to change was the most difficult challenge to overcome. The business process re-engineering eliminated many red-tapes which hindered the approval process. But this steps were long imbued in the staff daily tasks that they became a hindrance to change. Support from top management especially the Minister was crucial to change the mindset. Numerous training sessions and workshops were conducted in Muscat and throughout the regions to enable the social workers and professional staff to change the way they conducted their investigations and validating the findings. After 2 years intensive training and revisions of the process, Takuful was fully implemented in 2012.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The Takaful initiative enables underprivileged citizens to be assisted through MOSD services in a timely manner. As evident with the increase in number of cases. Since 2012, there is a 158% increase in beneficiaries receiving various services and assistance from MOSD. At the same time about 51k beneficiaries have successfully attained sustainability and no longer rely on MOSD for assistance. This enables MOSD to focus on others who really needed help. By being able to verify applicants’ information instantly from anywhere, MOSD was able to match their needs to the various social investment programmes managed by several large private organisations in the respective regions. This enables MOSD to channel their limited resources to handle more cases and assists those in needs. The biggest impact is the protection of women against poverty and destitute. Women who are left destitute after divorce, abandonment by husbands, widowed, unmarried, handicapped and old age are often the most vulnerable. In 2016, about 58% of the beneficiaries are women in these categories. Hence by reaching out to these women, MOSD ensures that they are protected against poverty and destitute which leads to the attainment of sustainable goals of eradicating poverty in all its forms, ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all and the achievement of gender equality and empower all women and girls.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
With the Takaful system, applicants not only can register for the services, they can also lodge a complaint against the service providers. This complaint is taken seriously by the Minister who personally oversees the responses to these complaints. In this manner, citizens are assured of quality services from the public services and related entities.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
The Social Security Act which prevents women from falling into the trap of poverty and destitution. Projects carried out by MOSD to improve these women’s livelihood include the housing assistance programme for low income women and income enhancement programme. Through the Takaful initiative, in 2012, a total of OMR 121 million (USD$314 million) was disbursed to support about 81k beneficiaries. This initiative further bolsters the government’s efforts to protect Omani women against poverty and destitute which leads to the attainment of sustainable goals of eradicating poverty in all its forms, ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all and the achievement of gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Social Development
Institution Type:   Ministry  
Contact Person:   Ahlam Al Toobi
Title:   Director of IT  
Telephone/ Fax:  
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   aco2020@hotmail.com  
Address:  
Postal Code:  
City:   Muscat
State/Province:  
Country:  

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