A TOTAL of 1 211 community members from Sibbinda constituency will benefit from the Namibia Red Cross Society cash transfer programme launched on Tuesday in the Zambezi region.
Through the Namibian Red Cross Society (NRCS) cash transfer, the organisation will be assisting small-scale farmers affected by the drought in Sibbinda constituency through cash grants and seed vouchers.
Each household is expected to get an amount of N$1 000 for a period of four months.
NRCS regional board chairperson Innocent Mahoto who spoke at the launch, noted that to reduce the threats of drought, they had partnered with the Spanish Red Cross and German Red Cross societies to create and implement a cash transfer programme to support about 800 households for four months.
"Although cash as a modality is not largely accepted as a standard response option for the Namibian government, it was agreed that the cash transfer programme should be run on a trial basis. The beneficiaries of this cash transfer programme are mostly single-headed households who did not benefit from any other drought response programmes.
"The project is aimed at improving the livelihoods of those affected by providing drought-resistant seeds and training for conservation farming practices," he said.
Mahoto further urged the government and the private sector to use this platform to consider cash transfer as an option in the emergency response.
Zambezi regional governor's special adviser, Ignatius Nkunga, said the programme aims to address hunger in rural households who are exposed to the immediate risk of starvation and undernourishment.
"As you may know, there is a devastating drought that is gripping many parts of the country. As a result in May this year, president Hage Geingob declared drought as a state of emergency. Therefore agencies like the Red Cross Society of Namibia and partners have come on board to support the affected communities through their cash transfer programme.
"The success of this cash transfer programme can already be seen by the secondary impact it has on the villages because the money [is spent] at the village shops and vendors, thus improving those local economies," he said.
Nkunga urged those who are able to complement the government's drought relief efforts to assist vulnerable people where they can.