Trinidad and Tobago + 1 more

CBI and Emergency Food Assistance: Addressing food insecurity in Trinidad & Tobago


Main issues related to food security

  • Loss of livelihoods
  • Irregularity
  • 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.