The most desperate households in Dominica are at the center of a new government program to combat hunger in the wake of September’s tumultuous typhoons.
Together with the United Nations Children's Fund, Unicef, and the World Food Program, WFP, up to 25,000 of the nation’s most destitute will benefit from a large emergency cash transfer program, officials announced.
“Those grants will go primarily to families who are under the Public Assistance Program. All of the administrative work has been completed and I want to thank Unicef and the Ministry of Social services ... for their efforts in advancing this particular intervention,” Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said in a morning press briefing Wednesday.
“This will touch and impact many families across the length and breadth of Dominica where they will have added cash at their disposal to take care of their daily needs and to provide better for their families.”
He also thanked the UNDP for their financial assistance towards the Cash Forward program, which will be used to advance a national unemployment program.
“There is significant evidence to point out that cash in emergencies is a reliable means of support," Unicef representative Aleks Lazovski said.
"By utilizing cash, we can act quite quickly and reach the most vulnerable families affected by the hurricane.”
Over 8,000 households in Dominica and citizens currently receiving government aid will be included in the project. Authorities said single-parent families and those with family members who are unemployed due to the hurricane may also receive compensation. Also included are people with chronic illnesses, pregnant women or those with disabilities.
“This indeed is welcoming as this will augment our current social support networks and help our beneficiaries to be more resilient in this time of crisis,” said Ministry of Social Services, Family and Gender Affairs official Helen Royer.
According to Marco Selva, director of the WFP program, this act of “social protection” was a result of Dominica’s professional and efficient handling of funds.