The United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, last Sunday signed a US$2 million agreement to support a project designed to help the less fortunate in Bong and Lofa counties.
The project called the Social Safety Net Cash Transfer Program is for the duration of five years, and will be implemented by the Gender Ministry.
This project also seeks to provide a safety net for households that have had a member succumb to the Ebola virus disease (EVD) and on which quarantine has been imposed.
The program will take the form of monthly cash distributions to qualifying households which will use the money to take care of their basic living requirements.
The social protection cash transfer program, which began in 2010, is part of the UNDP’s Ebola recovery programs that focus on four pillars: economic opportunities and jobs; recovery of the health sector; resilient governance for recovery, peace and stability; and risk management to deal with any future outbreaks.
The citizens of Bomi and Maryland counties were among those that have previously benefited from the program.
At the signing ceremony, the Minister of Gender & Social Protection, Julia Duncan-Cassell acknowledged UNDP’s efforts to support such a program for Liberians.
According to her, plans for a component on social safety net are underway; adding that in the absence of a robust and responsive social safety program, the future of children in Liberia may be lost.
She called on other partners to help in the same direction, because of the serious damage the EVD has caused to the economy of the country.
Earlier, UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark, underscored the need to decentralize the program so as to enable the locals to form part of the decision-making process.
The UNDP in collaboration with the World Bank will fully support the social protection scheme shortly.
For his part, Bomi County Superintendent Samuel Brown commended UNDP for being a true partner in the country’s recovery process.
Superintendent Brown recalled that during the outbreak of Ebola in Bomi, UNDP was the first organization which provided two motorbikes, gasoline and other support to help eradicate the virus from the county.
“Support from UNDP has helped to reduce the Ebola death toll and increase hygiene support in Bomi,” he said.
In appreciation, the citizens of Bomi County gowned the UNDP Administrator as a chief of the county for her “numerous contributions” in the fight against Ebola.
The occasion was also attended by Representative Gaye Karmoh of Bomi, Internal Affairs Minister Morris Dukuly, the Minister of Education, Etmonia David Tarpeh and traditional leaders, among others.