Mogadishu, Somalia, 22 April 2021- UN-Habitat is overseeing a cash transfer initiative to more than 1,500 vulnerable families in the Somali capital to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The project, funded by the European Union and implemented by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), will support people living in camps for the internally displaced and vulnerable host communities. 

The households in Shangani, Abdiaziz and Deynille Districts, will each receive USD 35 for the next six months through transfers on mobile phones.  Each household is provided with a sim card from Hormuud Telecom, a local telecommunications company, which is registered biometrically in a database.

“This is not only a safe way to support the vulnerable people in Mogadishu, but also a much more convenient and innovative way that is dignified since funds are guaranteed to reach the beneficiaries. What this platform has provided is continuity and ability to still support those in need and whose lives and livelihoods have been disrupted by the adverse effects of COVID-19,” said William Babumba, DRC Somalia Country Director.

Timiro Abdule, a 54-year-old mother said she preferred to receive the cash assistance through her mobile phone saying that it is safer than carrying money.

“The system transfers the money directly to my mobile phone meaning I do not need to touch the money and risk contracting COVID-19. I also do not have to travel and queue to collect the cash which saves me from getting exhausted,” she said.

 “We are committed to promoting and enhancing partnerships with local companies in Somalia  and using the existing structures and systems for the benefit of those we serve.  With the economic effect  suffered from the pandemic, we are committed to promote local economies as well as residents,” said Sophos Sophianos,  Project Manager at UN-Habitat.

 This cash transfers initiative is part of a larger project; EU response to health and socio-economic impact of COVID-19 in Mogadishu. The project contributes towards effective COVID-19 response, early stabilization, and recovery after the pandemic in areas around Mogadishu city and strengthens urban resilience in Banadir Region. The multifaceted project focuses on cash-transfer programmes, emergency protection, water, sanitation and hygiene and enhancing the capacity of relevant institutions at Mogadishu Municipality to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.