Liberia’s Gender Minister Admonishes Cash Grant Receivers to use it rightly
Sass Town Grand Kru - Thousands of beneficiary households of the Gender Ministry’s Social Cash Transfer Program are currently receiving cash in Grand Kru and Maryland counties. The unconditional cash transfers are intended to support beneficiary households’ livelihood and help raise their standard of living.
Speaking briefly after she symbolically presented cash to beneficiaries in Sass Town, Grand Kru County, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr said, “I want you to use the money for the betterment of your family. You were selected over other equally deserving people. Let’s make sure we use these funds for education, health, better nutrition and to invest in your family’s future”.
Minister Tarr expressed hope that the living standards of most of the beneficiaries, if not all, will improve as the program reaches its midpoint. She asserted, “the Pro-Poor Agenda aims to move one million people out of poverty and this program is one of the many strategies that President Weah is using to make that possible”.
The Social Cash Transfer Program is a component of the Liberia Social Safety Nets Project (LSSN), financed by the World Bank and FCDO/UKaid. The ongoing payment is the combined third and fourth out of eight since the resumption of the transfers under the LSSN.
The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO/UKaid) formerly DFID, has recently committed 5 million dollars to the rural cash transfers (in Maryland, Grand Kru, River Gee and Bomi), and 3.4 million dollars to the urban cash transfer (currently ongoing in Monrovia), to respond to shocks created by the COVID-19 pandemic in urban Montserrado County. At current, household registration is taking place in Bomi, Bong, Maryland and Nimba Counties, sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development USAID.
Minister Tarr further noted that she was delighted to see the high number of women beneficiaries as cash recipients in the current two counties receiving cash. “I am happy that more women are cash recipients and are here representing their households on this program. When women are empowered, the whole society is empowered” - The Liberian Gender Minister noted.
“For me, this represents a milestone achievement in our quest to empower more women in Liberia, especially in rural areas, where there are less opportunities” - Minister Tarr told the cheering crowd in Sass Town.
She expressed excitement over the transition from physical cash to mobile money, which has greatly alleviated the stress of traveling and created more alternatives for beneficiaries to get their cash from where and when they want. “Now your money is coming through the phones we gave you, you can either decide to come to the cash out points where we have brought MTN agents, or you go to where you want to go to cash out your money”.
In 2020, the project began a process of transition from physical cash to mobile money transfers due to the huge overhead cost, and the risk associated in moving with money from one point to the other.
Urban cash Transfer
In its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection is also currently transferring cash to 15 thousand households in urban Montserrado County. The initiative is led by the Ministry’s Social Cash Transfer (SCT) Program, under the Liberia Social Safety Nets Project (LSSN), Financed by Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO/UKaid) and the World Bank. This effort is an expansion of the Government’s Social Protection portfolio as these households will be added to the Liberia Household Social Registry.