UN-Habitat has disbursed the first tranche of direct cash transfers of US $ 70 each to 250 vulnerable households in West Kismayo as part of the COVID-19 response as part of a larger Swedish government-funded project involving youth and urban regeneration in Somalia. The same 250 households will each receive a total of $ 210 over a three-month period to support their families in an initiative that will indirectly benefit more than 2,000 people.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted Somalia’s economic recovery and government shutdowns have affected the most vulnerable communities, including urban communities in one of Somalia’s largest cities, Kismayo, whose residents are the main targets of this intervention, ”said Falastin Omar, UN-Habitat Program Manager for Somalia.
In addition to direct cash transfers, the COVID-19 response strategy will provide access to water and ensure that handwashing facilities are available in informal settlements in Kismayo as well as some public places.
“Somalia faces multiple and recurring shocks that have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. With dwindling remittances, employment opportunities and the rising cost of basic commodities, something must be done to help the poor and vulnerable. This program provides cash transfers for this purpose. We are happy to see our support helping people make ends meet and we are happy to work with the UN, the Jubaland administration and local communities to contribute to sustainable development efforts in Kismayo, ”said the Swedish Ambassador to Somalia, Staffan Tillander.
Communities in the western part of Kismayo city have been excluded from 2019-2020 relief support as attention has shifted to communities in riverine areas along the Juba River due to persistent flooding that has caused displacement.
“This intervention is timely because in addition to the loss of livelihoods due to the pandemic, the economic impact has been worsened by the prolonged drought and severe climate change,” said the mayor of Kismayo, Ibrahim Mohamed Yusuf.
This COVID-19 response initiative is part of the USD 4.6 million Youth and Urban Regeneration Project (YOURS) funded by the Swedish government. The project will help reduce urban spatial inequalities by promoting sustainable urban regeneration, youth development and the reintegration of marginalized groups through strengthening the capacities of government institutions and the socio-economic resilience of urban communities. Over the next 3 years, YOURS will be implemented with local and regional authorities at project sites including Baidoa, Dollow, Kismayo and Mogadishu.
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