Over 27 000 Namibians in Khomas and Omusati will benefit from cash transfers between July and September 2021. The Ministry of Gender, Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare will for three months provide N$600 to each of the 6 900 households in Khomas and Omusati regions that are adversely affected by Covid-19 and the recurrent drought.
The distribution of the cash through the cash-based transfer (CBT) already commenced in July but was officially launched at Onamatanga in the Omusati region last Friday. Khomas comprised 5 125 households, whereas Omusati comprised 1 775 households. Over N$12 million is being disbursed in partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) with the funding made possible by the European Union (EU).
The minister of gender Doreen Sioka said the programme in Windhoek targets people living in informal settlements in the peri-urban areas of Windhoek – while in Omusati, the focus will be on the marginalised communities, whose livelihoods continue to be disrupted by years of recurrent drought. In Windhoek, the beneficiaries will receive their money through the existing digitalised mobile platforms.
In Omusati, beneficiaries will receive their money through Epupa Investment Technologies, which is also tasked to distribute the government pension grant for elderly citizens. Sioka, during the launch, said this effort (CBT) is expected to provide the mechanism of introducing the basic income grant by transforming the food bank and marginalised communities food assistance programmes into cash transfers as provided for in the Harambee Prosperity Plan 2.
Sioka further said although social protection has been part of the government development agenda since the dawn of independence, gaps in the social policies and programmes still exist, resulting in the young and unemployed to fall between the cracks of social protection.
“Cabinet has recently approved the Social Protection Policy, with the main aim at addressing risks and vulnerability of all Namibians throughout the life cycle,” said Sioka.
Also speaking at the same event, WFP country representative George Fedha said the launch of the CBT signifies and proves there are several innovative and efficient ways of delivery food assistance to people who need it most.
Fedha said the CBT was in 2020 delivered in 67 countries, reaching 384 million beneficiaries. He further said Namibia has the right environment and ingredients to promote cash and market-based intervention that help stimulate the local economy, while ensuring adequate access to nutritious food.
In April last year, 970 720 Namibians applied for the government’s emergency income grant but only 576 104 applicants were approved. The N$750 grant was based on a poverty line of approximately N$250 per week, and was estimated to cover the first 21 days of the lockdown. Various entities have, for years, agitated for a basic income grant without success.