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Some beneficiaries might be excluded from the Food Bank system

Some beneficiaries might be excluded from the Food Bank system

Niël Terblanché

CHANGES with regards to the improvement of efficiency of the provision of food parcels to beneficiaries of the Food Bank in the Khomas Region of Namibia will see that only people registered under the so-called SCOPE system will be able to receive food parcels.
In an official statement issued by the Executive Director of the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare (MPESW), Esther Lusepani, all Food Bank beneficiaries and the Namibian public were informed of the intentions of the ministry bring about the changes to its food provision system. Lusepani sated further that the changes were already implemented on the 1 May 2019 and that some people might now risk being excluded from receiving food parcels.
In her statement Lusepani said the Ministry apologised for the inconvenience that these changes may have caused but said the necessary changes had to be implemented towards the operational sustainability of the Food Bank Programme.
According to the statement the Ministry started with food provisions following the establishment and launching of the Food Bank as a pilot project in Windhoek and the larger Khomas Region in June 2016. During the implementation process, the Ministry reviewed the eligibility criteria which targeted the very vulnerable and destitute people. In addition, the Ministry introduced the SCOPE system as a tool to improve efficiency within the food bank operations. The system was piloted in the Khomas Region of which all seven constituencies were covered in line with the new Eligibility Criteria. This resulted in the reduction of beneficiaries.
Lusepani’s stated that meetings were held with various stakeholders and communities in conjunction with the Khomas Regional Council through the constituency councilors under whose offices the Food Bank Programme is operated and where the SCOPE system has been introduced and incorporated into the Food Bank’s operation. The streamlined new criteria and SCOPE system implementation has enabled the Ministry to achieve the objective of food provision to the most vulnerable and destitute of Namibia’s people.
The Ministry introduced new Eligibility Criteria to identity only the most vulnerable households that qualifies for assistance. The new criteria the Ministry has developed are: Household members must be Namibian citizens in possession of national identification documents; Households with no permanent income or well-established or self-sustaining business (big or small), except where household is led by able bodied persons; Households who are not beneficiaries of any pension or social grants (old age grants, disability grants or war veteran grants). Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) recipients are exempted from the income category; Special cases will be considered by the Ministry based on the household circumstances such as pensioners with large families in their household, middle-aged and able bodied with more or minor dependents, and middle-aged unemployed persons on permanent or chronic medication such as ARV with more or minor dependents.
“The Ministry envisions that this announcement may bring a feeling of exclusion as some beneficiaries may feel that they might not meet the new Eligibility Criteria, therefore the Ministry will through the Street Committees be giving an opportunity for persons to apply for appeals and reviews.”
Lusepani said the Street Committees designated for respective locations will be dispatched to review and handle such appeals for reconsideration and that the Ministry will conduct an assessment on a case by case basis for all appellants.
Lusepani reiterated that all beneficiaries and the public should be aware of the fact that as of 1 May 2019 food parcels in the Khomas Region will only be distributed to those who are registered in the SCOPE system and also to those who comply in terms of the new Eligibility Criteria and urges all beneficiaries to ensure that the food parcels are used for the welfare of the beneficiary and their families.

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