United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is set to disburse emergency cash transfers to more than 56,000 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and children under the age of 2 years and refugees in the West Nile region.
The emergency fund has been availed by the Swedish funding to a social protection and health systems strengthening program implemented jointly by WFP and UNICEF.
The transfers are intended to stabilize women’s and children’s feeding following disruptions brought in their access to nutritious food during the Covid19 lockdown, which coincided with WFP food ration cuts to refugees living in 13 settlements in Uganda.
WFP will direct the cash to 43,300 women and children who are benefitting from its Mother and Child Health and Nutrition (MCHN) initiative in addition to another 13,200 people assisted through the Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project (DRDIP) and the Third Northern Uganda Social Action Fund 3 (NUSAF 3) is a government of Uganda projects implemented under the office of the Prime Minister.
Each woman or child involved with DRDIP/NUSAF 3 will receive a lump sum of Ugx 144,000 over a period of three months (48,000/month) while each of the women and children on the MCHN programme will receive two months equivalent of Ugx 96,000.
“Sweden had already committed USD. 25m before to support Uganda’s effort to improve the community and household resilience among refugees and host populations in West Nile when COVID 19 came, “ said Ola Hallgren, Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden.
He noted that “The close partnership with WFP allowed us to quickly adapt our support at a time of crisis, re-allocating USD. 4 million to the emergency transfer. And through this support and other interventions, Sweden remains committed to contributing to Uganda’s efforts to address the negative impact of COVID 19 on vulnerable communities.”
“We all know that the negative impacts of Covid19 are much severe for the already most vulnerable groups in society. Therefore I am proud that we through this support will help more than 56,000 women and children who to recover, while also preventing malnutrition,” said Hallgren.
El-Khidir Daloum, Country Director of WFP said cash transfers remain the most widely used tool for assistance by governments around the World and the international monetary fund is recommending stronger social support measures to help the hardest-hit populations cope with the effects of Covid-19.
“At a time when some donors have reduced their contributions because of the ripple effects of Covid-19 and WFP has insufficient funds to provide refugees with full rations monthly, it is important to secure funding but also to use the most optimal modality – cash – cushion women and children threatened b food insecurity and malnutrition,” Daloum said.
Dr Robert Limlim the Director DRDIP/NUSAF said the government has an important role in mitigating the effects of Covid-19 on the most vulnerable individuals in the country.
“To be able to cover the most vulnerable households in a short time frame, cash transfers call for rigorous coordination between governments and humanitarian partners. That is where we come in, leveraging our experience working with Uganda’s refugee-hosting districts and settlements.” Limlim said.
The transfers will be distributed as cash through mobile bank vans to individuals identified as the most vulnerable in their communities in the districts of Adjumani, Arua, Madi- Okollo, Koboko, Moyo, Obongi, Terego, and Yumbe.