ZAMBEZI – The Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS) in collaboration with a consortium of partners are assisting small-scale crop farmers affected by the drought in the Sibbinda Constituency of Zambezi Region with cash grants and seed vouchers under the Cash Transfer Program (CTP).
Under the CTP farmers who did not benefit from any other drought response programs are provided with cash to buy food, education expenses and farming supplies. Although cash as a modality is not largely accepted as a standard response option for the Namibian government, it was agreed the NRCS could trial this kind of intervention.
The NRCS spokesperson Edmund Khoaseb said that although a small percentage of people may purchase items that one might feel are not appropriate, there is strong evidence that if cash is given to people who need money for basic things such as food, the majority of people will make important and right choices to get those needs met. “By providing this assistance in the most cost-effective way, we can keep our costs low and reach more people,” he said.
The NRCS as the implementing national society, partnered with the Spanish Red Cross and the British Red Cross who provided funds, technical expertise and coordination of the consortium. In mid-August, the German government and German Red Cross committed funds and joined the consortium in September.
Khoaseb said that government offices are involved in the drought response such as the Office of the Prime Minister, the Zambezi Regional Council and the Sibbinda Constituency Office, while NamPost provides free services for the distribution of cash and the NRCS consulted with the agriculture ministry and the Ministry of Finance, in particular, the Financial Literacy Initiative on the practicality of a Cash Transfer Program.
The spokesperson said that the NRCS provided cash grants to 599 farmers during the first round of disbursement which ended in August. Another 612 farmers were registered in the first week of September, bringing the total of beneficiaries to 1211. Each household registered under the CTP will receive N$3 200 over three instalments. Additionally, the project aims at improving the livelihoods of those affected by providing drought-resisting seeds worth N$600 and training for conservation farming practices to the beneficiaries.
The second round of cash disbursement will be conducted during the week of September 23 – 27 at the Katima Mulilo NamPost Office.