UNICEF and World Food Programme (WFP) Regional Directors for Latin America and the Caribbean have signed an agreement to support governments in the region to be better prepared and equipped to use cash transfer programmes to assist their population during emergencies.

UNICEF’s Marita Perceval and WFP’s Miguel Barreto signed the agreement in Roseau, Dominica, at the start of a workshop to review the emergency cash-based transfer programme the two agencies supported in the Caribbean country, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

In emergencies, transfers – either cash or vouchers – allow affected people to determine and prioritise their own needs and strengthen their autonomy and dignity. Additionally, they stimulate local economies and revitalize markets, thus promoting resilience in affected communities, as seen in Dominica.

UNICEF’s Marita Perceval and WFP’s Miguel Barreto meet with Dominica’s Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit

The three-month programme the Government of Dominica implemented with the support of the two agencies in the aftermath of the Category 5 hurricane Maria provided emergency cash transfers to 25,000 affected people, including 6,000 children. Payments helped families meet their basic needs, including food, clothes, hygiene items, school supplies and reconstruction materials.

“Emergency cash helped vulnerable Dominicans who had lost so much get back on their feet again. The cash was a lifeline for affected people but it also allowed them to regain priceless strength and hope,” said Mr. Barreto. “We know these programmes work and can be used effectively by Governments, with our joint UN support, to prepare for and respond to future emergencies,” he added.

“When we take care of a child in an emergency, we are not only giving immediate protection, we are making sure that she can develop to her full potential,” said Ms Perceval. “Dominica’s pioneering experience using cash transfers as a response to emergency breaks the barrier between humanitarian and development work, and is a testament to what the collaboration of UNICEF and WFP, under the Dominica’s government leadership, can accomplish for the region.”

This post was originally published on UNICEF Eastern Caribbean’s Facebook page.


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