Good Afternoon to fellow speakers, members of the media and to families watching this livestream on our facebook page.
We have some important announcements to make this afternoon in relation to an expansion of Save the Children’s Covid-19 National Cash program.
Between Dec 2020 and July 2021, Save the Children established a national Cash Program to respond to the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on families and children, particularly those families affected by income and job losses.
We worked closely with the Fijian Government, Vodafone, the Fiji Council of Social Services, Medical Services Pacific and other civil society partners and very successfully assisted 14,772 highly vulnerable Fijian households with cash transfers. An additional 2000 households with special needs were also provided a one of payment of $400.
Each household received $400 through digital cash transfer systems namely Vodafone’s mpaisa platform. A total of 16,772 households received cash payments.
A total of $6.7Million Fijian dollars was transferred directly to families to help them meet their basic needs such as buying food and medicine and taking care of their children’s educational needs.
We are witnessing, many families not able to meet their basic needs during the on-going Covid crisis. We have also seen the positive impact cash assistance has made to improve the lives of Covid-19 impacted families and children and maintain their dignity during this difficult time.
Therefore, with the continued support and generosity of our private donor, Save the Children is pleased to announce that we have extended our Covid-19 cash transfer program. The extended program will be implemented in partnership with government and civil society, Vodafone and Digicel and the Fiji Council of Social Services and Medical Services Pacific.
The second round of the Cash Program commenced in August, and will be implemented over a 6-month period until January 2022.
We have a criteria for selecting households that must be met to be eligible for the cash assistance. ‘The household is without a source of income due to COVID-19 and is not an existing beneficiary of any other assistance program, including any social protection or welfare program.
Plus one of the following:
- Households supporting more than five people and/or three children under five-years.
- Households supporting people with chronic illness, elderly, and/or persons with a disability.
- Pregnant and lactating women.
- Survivors of Gender Based Violence.
- Single-headed households, particularly single mothers.
- Members of marginalized groups
Between August and December 2021, we will be assisting 39,000 households. Each household will receive 3 payments of $200 which will be transferred into their mycash wallet or mpaisa accounts.
We have already verified and vetted a total of 16,772 households. These households have already been paid their first transfer amount of $200 on the 22nd of August. They will receive their second payment of $200 on the 22 of Sept and their final third payment of $200 on the 22nd of October.
The remaining 25000 households will be new beneficiaries who will be identified in partnership with government and civil society partners.
We aim to transfer the 1st payment of $200 to these households on the 1st of October, their second payment of $200 on 1st Nov and their final $200 payment on the 1st of Dec 2021.
In total more than $23million FJD will be transferred to 39,000 households by Dec 2021.
Save the Children is pleased to be able to continue providing cash assistance to families in Fiji who are struggling due to COVID-19. Cash assistance gives families the ability and the choice to buy the things they need for them and their children.
We hope that the continued cash assistance from Save the Children will help ease the hardships faced by many families in Fiji. We urge families to utilise these funds wisely and prioritise spending to meet the immediate needs of their children.
We are grateful for the continued support from the government, our partners present at this event and to our donor for their continued support.
For more information on this program, please visit our website www.savethechildren.org.fj click on events and media and latest news to obtain more information on the program.
***Families will be assisted based on data gathered by Save the Children’s program partners. We are not accepting any applications for this program***