By Olimatou Coker
The Gambia Red Cross Society in partnership with Africell, through the Afri-money service with funding from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, on Monday launched 6.4 million dalasis unconditional cash support to be distributed to two thousand vulnerable families across the country. The launch was held at GRCS head office in Kanifing.
Each identified beneficiary across the country will receive D3,200.
The GRCS response strategy to the covid-19 also incorporates the risks related to flash floods, windstorms, and their impacts on families which have been further affected their livelihoods, thus, rendering them more vulnerable to the impacts of the covid-19. as part of its mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and alleviate human suffering at all times, GRCS is supporting vulnerable households in the form of unconditional cash to those families whose livelihoods have been affected during this period of the covid-19.
The package targets families that have their businesses affected by the state of emergency restriction measures; persons depending on daily labor as the only source of livelihood; women-headed households with limited income; refugees, migrants, asylum seekers, and stateless persons; differently-abled household heads, that depend on daily charities from other people; household heads with chronic illnesses; households affected by floods and windstorms during the covid-19 period; households affected by fire outbreaks during the covid-19 period; and household heads living with HIV/AIDS.
Alasan Senghore, Secretary-General of The Gambia Red Cross Society said the unconditional cash transfer does not only ensure the lives and dignity of people they serve are protected but also ensure they are accountable.
He added that one of their main intentions is to also ensure they maintain the confidence that people have in the Red Cross.
Mr. Senghore thanked all Gambians both home and abroad as well as their partners for their confidence and financial contribution in alleviating the suffering of Gambians during the pandemic.
He stated that many people believe covid-19 is gone but highlighted that covid-19 is still here. He added that currently there is a new stream of the virus in the UK that is more devastating which he said is a clear indication that as Gambians we have to be more careful.
He said if countries with the resources and strong health systems are trying to protect their citizens then as Gambians, in a developing country, should be more committed to protecting our lives and saving the lives of Gambians.
He appealed to people to continue to respect the WHO and the ministry of health guidelines.
Jamal Bensouda, Operations Manager for Afri Money at Africell described GRCS as an honorable humanitarian institution, saying the country cannot thank them enough for what they do.
He added that the reason we see a drop in cases and containment of the virus in the country is because of the Red Cross’ actions, great leadership, and courage.
Mr. Bensouda assured GRCS of his office’s commitment to fully fulfill their part of the agreement. He also said that they will ensure the funds are executed effectively and efficiently as well as in an accountable and transparent manner.
Abdoulie Fye, Director of Programs and Operations at GRCS thanked their volunteers, staff, and partners for their response to the fight against covid-19 in the country.
He said the pandemic impacted the lives and livelihood of people negatively, adding that they have been involved in the promotion of hygiene and sanitation, infection prevention and control activities, case management, risk communication, strengthening community engagement, as well as supporting people in cash and kind.
Mr Fye finally hoped that the intervention will have a positive impact on the lives of people living in the country.