The Government through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP) says it has concluded all necessary requirements to begin cash transfer pilot Project to fifteen thousand households in rural Montserrado County. The total amount to be distributed according to the government is US$3.4 million.
Gender Minister Williametta Saydee-Tarr made the disclosure Wednesday January 27, 2021 at a news conference in Monrovia when she indicated that the intervention is a part of government response to the COVID-19 pandemic to assist extremely poor and food-insecure families affected by restrictive protocols of the COVID-19 lockdown.
“This initiative is led by the Ministry’s Social Cash Transfer (SCT) Program under the Liberia Social Safety Nets Project sponsored by Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and the World Bank. This effort is an expansion of the Government’s Social Protection portfolio as these households will be added to the Liberia Household Social Registry,” Mrs. Saydee-Tarr said.
She said the money is being provided by the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)/ UKAID, stressing, “The FCDO has also committed five million dollars to the regular cash transfer in Maryland, Bomi, River Gee and Grand Kru Counties.”
According to Mrs. Saydee-Tarr, the Ministry selected geographies for this pilot using evidence-based criteria to define high levels of multi-dimensional poverty, including informal housing prone to natural disasters, and health-specific infrastructure gaps creating additional vulnerability, for instance, “lack of access to drainage and public facilities.”
“All households within the selected communities like Saye-Town, Blamo-Town, Slipway, and others are eligible to receive support from the Social Cash Transfer to meet immediate household needs and prevent the use of negative coping strategies caused by the pandemic,” she said.
Minister Saydee-Tarr said the cash will be received by a female in every household except where there is no female. “A single person household is fifteen dollars per transfer, while a six-person household is ninety dollars per transfer.”
She said the government is committed to responding to the needs of all citizens and residents alike, as outlined in the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development where the Weah-led Administration remains dedicated to lifting one million people out of poverty.
The Minister said her Ministry will continue to seek means through which it can respond to the vulnerable population as the government’s foremost Social Protection Institution.
She said the ministry is currently transferring cash to nearly four thousand beneficial households in Maryland and Grand Kru Counties, furthering that “In December 2020, the project transitioned from physical cash transfer to mobile money through which our beneficiaries in Maryland and Grand Kru received two quarter-payments worth of transfers next month (February).”
Mrs. Saydee-Tarr expressed gratitude to partners FCDO (formerly DFID), USAID, and the World Bank for their support.
Namita Desai, Country Director of Give Directly, said the institution is elated to have been selected by the MGCSP as a partner to deliver their emergency social cash transfer pilot in urban areas during COVID-19.
Madam Desai extended gratitude to FCDO, The World Bank, and USAID for their continued investment and engagement in building a strong social safety net for Liberia.
“We commend the MGCSP for their continued efforts to build the social safety net in Liberia, and for their commitment to reaching vulnerable populations in these unprecedented times. GiveDirectly is proud to play a part in that journey, and echoes the Minister’s hopes that this work can be scaled to reach more people in need.”
Mack Mulbah of the World Bank Country Office here in Liberia said the World Bank will continue to work with the ministry to ensure that the cash transfer reaches vulnerable people across Liberia.
“The Ministry’s capacity is now being built to take care of such initiative, and we want to say thank to the Government of Liberia,” Mr. Mulbah said.