WFP supports Tunisian government in assisting vulnerable families affected by Covid-19 in Siliana

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SILIANA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) – in cooperation with the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Education – has started its first ever cash transfers in Tunisia. The three-month initiative is designed to help more than 530 families from the Siliana region whose children are no longer receiving school meals due to the closure of schools during the COVID-19 crisis.

Families of children attending five primary schools (El Fdhoul, Sodga, El Harriya, Fondok Debich and Bou Abdallah) served by WFP’s school meals programme will now receive a fixed and unconditional cash transfer of 200 TND (about US$70) to help them meet their basic food needs. The cash transfer supplements the monthly allowance provided by the Ministry of Social Affairs to families who are part of its social protection programme.

“The socio-economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic in Tunisia gives cause for concern with poverty and malnutrition levels threatening to rise even further,” said WFP Representative and Country Director in Tunisia Fatimata Sow Sidibé. “WFP implements school feeding in poorer communities where people have lost their jobs or incomes due to lockdown measures and are now unable to put basic food items on the table. Replacing the children’s school meals in this way will help meet their nutritional needs while schools are closed.”

Families will receive a message on their mobile phones with a code to redeem their entitlements. They then show up at a post office and use the code and their national ID to collect their cash. WFP is working with its implementing partner Islamic Relief Tunisia which will coordinate and monitor the scheme.

WFP supports the Government of Tunisia with its National School Feeding Programme under the terms of WFP’s five-year plan for Tunisia (2018-2022) – this aims to strengthen the capacity of national institutions to deliver enhanced school meals and social protection programmes with a view to improving the National School Feeding Programme.

WFP last year signed an agreement with the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture - Regional Commissariat for Agricultural Development of Siliana (CRDA) – to promote local agricultural development and better nutrition through innovative, home-grown school feeding programmes in the south of Siliana governorate.

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Aziza Bouhejba, WFP/Tunis, Mob. +216 58 751 620