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UN-Habitat has disbursed the first tranche of direct cash transfers of USD 70 each to 250 vulnerable households in Western Kismayo as part of the COVID-19 response within a larger project funded by the Government of Sweden which addresses youth and urban regeneration in Somalia. The same 250 households will each receive a total of USD 210 over a three – month period to support their families in an initiative which will benefit over 2,000 people indirectly.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted Somalia’s economic recovery and the government shutdowns have impacted the most vulnerable communities including urban communities in one of Somalia’s largest cities, Kismayo whose dwellers are the main targets of this intervention,” said Falastin Omar, Programme Manager, UN-Habitat Somalia Programme.
In addition to direct cash transfers, the COVID-19 response strategy will provide access to water and ensure handwashing facilities are available in the informal settlements of Kismayo as well as selected public places.
“Somalia is facing multiple and recurring shocks that have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the decrease in remittances, job opportunities and the increasing cost of basic commodities, something has to be done to help the poor and vulnerable. This programme provides cash transfers for that purpose. We are happy to see our support helping people make ends meet, and are happy to work together with the UN, the Jubaland Administration and the local communities to contribute to sustainable development efforts in Kismayo,” said the Ambassador of Sweden to Somalia, Staffan Tillander.
The communities in the west of Kismayo city were excluded from the 2019-2020 -relief support as focus shifted to communities in the riverine areas along the Juba River due to persistent flooding that caused displacement.
“This intervention is timely because in addition to the loss of livelihood from the pandemic, the economic impact was worsened by the prolonged drought and severe climatic changes,” 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 Government of Sweden. The project will contribute to reducing spatial urban inequalities by promoting sustainable urban regeneration, youth development and re-integration of marginalised groups through building capacity of government institutions and socio-economic resilience of urban communities. Over the next 3 years, YOURS will be implemented with local and regional authorities across the project locations including Baidoa, Dollow, Kismayo and Mogadishu.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN Habitat.