By Ndey Sowe
Following series of preparatory activities for the rollout of the “Nafa” program, officials and partners implementing the project have commenced the second phase of the cash transfer to the remaining seventeen districts, and the seventh cash transfer to the piloted districts of Foni Bintang, Nianija, and Wuli West, respectively.
The National Nutrition Agency (NaNA), the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) and the Department of Community Development (DCD), are currently implementing The Gambia Social Safety Net Project (GSSNP), which is jointly funded by the World Bank and the Government of The Gambia.
According to officials, the project aims to improve the Coordination of social assistance activities and increase inclusion of extremely poor communities in the twenty districts of the Gambia; that the component of the Nafa program is piloted in the three aforementioned districts and is subsequently rolled out to the remaining seventeen districts.
A bi-monthly cash transfer of D3,000.00 and social and behavioural change communication (SBCC) activities have been provided to approximately 15,000 extreme poor households as beneficiary households for a period of eighteen months.
In an interview with Catherine Kutu Gibba Omo, the program and monitoring, evaluation and research officer at the NaNA, they are currently expanding the project and are on the second round to disburse funds to beneficiary households.
“We are targeting one thousand, two hundred and nineteen (1,290) households in the four districts of Foni Berefet, Kansala, Jarrol and Bondali,” she explained; that they have covered a lot of people, noting that the beneficiaries will receive cash for a period of one year and six months.
“It is gratifying to see you trying to uplift people to another level and the importance of empowering them cannot be over emphasized,” she said.
“My wish is to see how this thing can be extended to other people,” she added.
However, she was quick to highlight that the Nafa Program has availed them the opportunity to know the realities on the ground, especially in rural areas.
Ramatoulie Kandeh, Assistant Community Development Officer in West Coast Region (WCR) explained their role in the Nafa Program, one of which according to her, is to monitor the Multi-Disciplinary Facilitation Team (MDFTs) at field level to ensure that implementation is smoothly conducted and all the necessary imputes, processes are cordially put in place.
Jainaba Bojang, From Kanjabena in the Foni District is a beneficiary who expresses joy and appreciation to the Nafa Program.
“It is very important because it has a lot of benefits and since I started receiving the money I thank God,” Jainaba happily explained.
She then thanked the World Bank and the Government of the Gambia for their foresight in helping to alleviate poverty but appealed for more support.
Another beneficiary was Ebrima Jallow, also Foni who said that the project has benefited and contributed a lot in their livelihoods as it came at a time when the COVID-19 hits every part of the world and The Gambia is not an exception.
“I am very happy as this is my second time receiving the cash. I thanked the World Bank and The Gambia government for the support,” he said.
Mr Jallow finally said that the money will help him provide his family needs such as feeding, education and payments of hospital bills.