By Cherno Omar Bobb
The Secretary General of The Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS) Alasan Senghore, has said that the GRCS aims at alleviating human suffering by addressing some of the needs of vulnerable peoplethrough its unconditional cash transfer.
Mr. Senghore made these remarks in his office in Kanifing during the launch of the unconditional cashtransfer of about 6.4 million Dalasi to be distributedamong 2000 vulnerable families across the country.
He said the funding from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) will be transferred to households in partnership with Africell’s Afri-Money. He adds that each identified beneficiary across the country will receive D3, 200.
“The package targets families that have their businesses affected by the state of emergency restriction measures; persons depending on daily labor as the only source of livelihood; women-headed households with limited income; refugees, migrants, asylum seekers, and stateless persons; differently-able household heads, that depend on daily charities from other people; household heads with chronic illnesses; households affected by floods and windstorms during the COVID-19 pandemic; households affected by fire outbreaks during the period of the pandemic, and household heads living with HIV/AIDS,” Senghoresaid.
He added that the unconditional cash transfer is to ensure the lives and dignity of people they serve arenot only protected but also ensure that they are accountable.
He said one of their main intentions was to also ensurethey maintain the confidence that people have on the Red Cross.
Mr. Senghore thanked all Gambians both home and abroad as well as their partners for their confidence and financial contribution in alleviating the suffering of Gambians during the pandemic.
He stated that many people believe COVID-19 is gone but he highlighted that the pandemic is still here. He added that there is currently a new strain of the virus that had been seen in the United Kingdom, which he said is more devastating. That he said is a clear indication that as Gambians need to be more careful. He said if countries with the resources and strong health systems are trying to protect their citizens, as a developing country, Gambians should be more committed to protecting the lives of the people. He therefore appealed to people to continue to respect the WHO and Ministry of Health guidelines.
The Operations Manager for Afri-Money at Africell, Jamal Bensouda, described GRCS as an honorable humanitarian institution, saying the country cannot thank them enough for what they are doing. He added that the reason there was a drop in cases and containment of the coronavirus in the country wasbecause of Red Cross’s great leadership and courage.
Mr. Bensouda assured GRCS of his office’s commitment to fulfill their part of the agreement. He also said that they will ensure the funds are executed effectively and efficiently as well as in an accountable and transparent manner.
The Director of Programs and Operations at GRCS,Abdoulie Fye, thanked the Red Cross volunteers, staff and partners in their response to the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in the country. He said the pandemic impacted the lives and livelihood of people negatively, adding that the Red Cross had been involved in the promotion of hygiene and sanitation, infection prevention and control activities, case management, risk communication, strengthening community engagement, as well as supporting people in cash and kind.
Mr. Fye further expressed the hope that the intervention will have a positive impact on the lives of people living in the country.