OMUTHIYA -The Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare is busy conducting regional consultations to roll out the food bank program to northern regions.
The consultations started yesterday in Oshikoto, then followed by Oshana today and will conclude with Omusati tomorrow. This will come in handy for the impoverished and unemployed youth living in deplorable conditions, but are disciplined and able to read, write and speak in English as they stand a chance to be absorbed into street committees and coordinators of the project in the various towns or communities.
Those to be selected should be unemployed with no means of an income at all, says the Director of Poverty Eradication for Programmes and Coordination, Niita Iipinge during the consultation attended by stakeholders including constituency and local authority councillors.
“With the implementation of this program, it will provide employment to the unemployed preferably the youth and earn an income. Although such candidates should be able to speak, write and read the official language as they will be required to compile reports,” said Iipinge.
“The selected candidates should be prepared to work as volunteers although they receive an allowance, and that stipend is pegged to the duties they execute,” she added.
As one of the selection criteria, Iipinge stated those from well off families will not be eligible for selection even though they are unemployed because they can still receive a meal from the relatives, unlike those that have no one to turn to. In addition, she said the street committee members must be strictly residents of the location or area they serve.
“These are the people who know who is who, as this will ease the identification and selection process of eligible beneficiaries as they are familiar with situations such people live in, than bringing someone from somewhere else,” she said, while sending a stern warning to the would be beneficiary to never sell the food parcels they will be receiving.
Furthermore, Iipinge sought to clarify the terms, saying beneficiaries are per household and not per individual. The minister Bishop Zephania Kameeta, who wished not to say much, stated that the food bank program is now rolled out in eight regions.
“We are here to consult each other on the challenges, the way to proceed and the launch of the program in the region,” he briefly said.
The food bank initiative was launched in 2016 as part of the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) with a focus to reduce hunger and poverty among urban and peril-urban areas. The monthly food hamper, valued at N$550, includes a bag of maize meal, cooking oil, tinned fish, corned meat, beans, yeast, bread flour, sugar and a bar of soap.