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Mitigating effects of covid-19: About 100,000 poor people in Juba start receiving cash under South Sudan Safety Net Project

Nearly 100,000 vulnerable people (15,500 households) in Juba started receiving much needed support through the World Bank funded South Sudan Safety Net Project (SSSNP), in the form of cash transfers. The UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in partnership with the Government of South Sudan are managing the cash transfers.

Launched in July 2020, the SSSNP aims to support some 430,000 low-income and vulnerable individuals across 10 counties in South Sudan (Juba, Pibor, Bor, Kapoeta East, Torit, Tonj South, Gogrial West) with cash assistance to meet their urgent needs and invest in their household welfare. The target beneficiaries include vulnerable members of society including women headed households, children, people living with disabilities, and the elderly.

Specifically, the project provides beneficiary households USD 40.5 per month for a period of nine months.  Since the launch of cash transfers in March 2021 about USD2 million has been transferred to the targeted poorest and most vulnerable households. 

Preparations are also underway to extend the program and start cash payments in Bor, Torit and Gogrial West that are experiencing acute food insecurity due to multiple shocks including floods and the locust invasion.  

70-year-old Kelida Wilson, a recipient of the cash assistance noted that “It has not been easy for my family these past months. Things have become worse with COVID-19. With the financial support I have received from this project, I am going to stock the house with food and other basic needs.” As head of her family, she has been struggling to meet the needs of the family, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The project is implemented in a COVID-19 sensitive manner to respond to increasing vulnerabilities and mitigate contagion risks. It will prioritize Juba because of the disproportionate impact of Covid 19 on poor and urban households”. Said Dr. John Ogoto Kanisio, the Under Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security during the launch of the cash distribution in Juba.

Mrs. Esther Ikere Eluzai, the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, added that “the project will facilitate a shift in gender relations and attitudes by making women in the primary beneficiaries of cash assistance, and this will contribute to improved nutrition, health and education to all members of the households.”

“The SSSNP is critical to address economic vulnerabilities in South Sudan and the cash distribution is expected to make a real contribution towards strengthening the resilience and supporting the livelihoods of the neediest and most deserving households in South Sudan. The Project is one of our flagship interventions through which we are uniquely positioned to strengthen the humanitarian-development nexus as well as the foundational building blocks of the social safety net system in South Sudan,” Said Husam Abudagga, World Bank Country Manager for South Sudan.

Since May 2020, the UNOPS has been working with the South Sudan’s Ministries of Agriculture and Food Security; Gender, Child and Social Welfare; and Finance and Planning to implement the project over the next two-and-a-half years. 

“UNOPS will continue the cash payments with the same momentum and scale up to the other locations in our bid to reach our target of 65,000 beneficiary households. As we scale up to the other locations, in consultation with the  Government and World Health Organisation (WHO), we will explore the commencement of COVID compliant public works activities  to enhance community assets for flood controls and other natural resource management above the cash that will be provided,” said Peter Mutoredzanwa, UNOPS Country Director and Representative in South Sudan.

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