Oshakati – The U.S. government has provided food aid since February to more than 10,000 Namibian families in drought-stricken areas already suffering from the economic challenges due to COVID-19. The food is primarily going to households with children affected by HIV as well as people at risk of contracting HIV in 10 regions: Karas, Erongo, Otjikoto, Ohangwena, Omaheke, Oshana, Otjozondjupa, Zambezi, as well as Kavango East and West Regions.
The food aid, funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), comes in the form of a voucher system. Families receive a voucher that they can redeem for nutritious food items at specific retail shops. The support provided is valued at more than N$6 million (US$470,000).
On June 8, Jessica Long, the Deputy Chief of Mission in the U.S. Embassy, visited one of the hardest-hit regions, Oshana. In Oshakati, Ms. Long met with families who used their food vouchers to purchase maize meal, beans, and vegetable oil. During a visit to the local community, she also met with a family to listen to the challenges they face, and to offer encouragement.
“Their spirit and determination are inspiring, despite the difficulties they have to endure fighting several emergencies simultaneously — drought, food shortages, COVID-19,” said Ms. Long. “Orphans and vulnerable children, young women living with HIV, and marginalized communities were hit even harder than others. The United States government stands with the Namibian people in time of need. We are committed to working together to ease the impact of hunger and help families get through this crisis,” she added.
The food voucher project is being implemented by local development partners Project HOPE and IntraHealth Namibia with technical support of the World Food Programme. The project started in February and continues until mid-July this year.
AUDIO (To download select “More” then “Download”): https://soundcloud.com/usembnamibia/us-government-provides-food-to-namibians-most-affected-by-drought-and-covid-19
Speaker: Walter Parrs, Public Affairs Officer