Main issues related to food security
- Loss of livelihoods
- Limited self-reliance
- Abuse and exploitation
- Limited access to employment
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 triggered prolonged loss of livelihoods among displaced people as well as a significant increase in the demand for food support. With social assistance initiatives implemented by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago covering only citizens and permanent residents, non-nationals in irregular situations – including the majority of displaced people – remained excluded and with heightened risk of destitution and critical food insecurity.
Thus, UNHCR supports a food assistance programme developed by partner Living Water Community (LWC) in collaboration with private sector fintech service provider WiPay to provide QR code-generated digital identifiers to displaced people who meet socioeconomic and protection criteria. A national network of supermarkets was established to allow displaced people to redeem QR codes and purchase food items directly at stores. This procedure reduced interpersonal contact, was protection-sensitive, corresponded in quantity to emergency assistance provided by the Government to locals, and provided support for meeting basic food needs.