8 things you need to know about gov’t food distribution programme

A resident of Kanyinya village recieves her package as government starts food distribution to support poor families during the lockdown. / Dan Nsengiyumva.

The government last week started the distribution of relief items to households in the City of Kigali as part of efforts to sustain vulnerable people during the Novel Coronavirus lockdown.

The exercise follows President Paul Kagame’s national address where he promised that the government will continue to do everything possible, to support Rwandans through this challenging time.

 

As of Thursday April 2, Rwanda’s coronavirus cases stood at 84.

 

In an interview with The New Times, the Mayor of City of Kigali (CoK) Pudence Rubingisa shed light on the process and what it entails.

 

1. What motivated the initiative?

Due to the measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many people who were depending on jobs that provide a daily income are finding it difficult to get a subsistence during this time of a lockdown because they cannot work. Therefore, the government has put in place a programme to support these people. The support is mainly through the provision of food items and other sanitary materials.

2. What food are you giving  specifically?

We are giving them maize flour, rice and beans and we are delivering the food to the beneficiaries’ homes in order to respect both the “Stay At Home” and the social distancing requirements. As local leaders, we continue monitoring the situation to make sure that this exercise goes smoothly.

3. Who are the beneficiaries?

Beneficiaries are those that had jobs that provided a daily income but are right now finding it difficult to get a subsistence during this time of a lockdown because they can’t work. These include mainly casual labourers, masons, hair salon employees, those who work in bars and generally those working in the informal sector who right now have no source of income.

Then there are those that are already under the government’s social protection schemes like Direct Support, VUP public works, FARG.

We are exploring how we can give more support to families with children and the elderly by giving them milk, flour to make porridge, soap and other items.

4. How are the beneficiaries chosen?

The beneficiaries are selected by adhoc committees made up of local leaders and persons with integrity-Inyangamugayo put in place in each village.

5. What if companies, individuals want to donate; how do they go about it?

The private sector and other organizations wishing to support this initiative can do so through Rwanda Development Board (RDB). Individuals can contact their local leaders.

6. Where is the food coming from?

The food government is distributing is coming from the National Strategic Grains Reserve in the Ministry of Agriculture.

7. What has been the biggest highlight of this process?

It is important to recognize and commend the community initiatives around the city from different neighbourhoods. It is an indication of how far we have come as a united community of Rwandans and how we as a people can find solutions for the challenges our communities are facing. As the leadership, we shall continue supporting such community initiatives and we also encourage them to work with local leaders in directing the support to those in most need.

8. Has the process encountered  any challenges?

We have had cases of those who were left out or those who received this food yet they are not eligible. We are rectifying this issue. We call upon local leaders or committees to select beneficiaries who truly deserve the support.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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