Solidarity Fund distributes food parcels

Saturday, April 18, 2020

The Solidarity Fund has started delivering food parcels to more than 250 000 families across South Africa.

The Solidarity Fund, which receives donations from corporates, citizens and foundations, has made R120 million available for food relief for distressed families.

The Fund is working with the Department of Social Development (DSD), four major non-profit organisations (NPOs) in the food security sector, and with faith and community-based organisations across the country to ensure maximum reach, especially in rural areas. 

The Fund will act as a coordinator for the distribution efforts to maximise reach and scale.

Interim Chief Executive Officer of the Solidarity Fund, Nomkhita Nqweni, said COVID-19 has exacerbated the challenge of food insecurity in the country.

“The need for social distancing means that school feeding schemes and government food distribution centres have not been operating. Combine that with incomes lost for people in the informal sector and there is an acute crisis.

“Through continuous engagement with multiple stakeholders, including key members of government and civil society, we have in just over a week, planned and are executing a food distribution intervention on an enormous scale,” said Nqweni on Friday.

The 250 000 households will be reached through a multifaceted strategy. Monies from the Fund will contribute to the reactivation of the DSD’s distribution networks, providing relief for 58 000 highly vulnerable households, many of which are located in underserviced locations.

An additional 146 000 households will be reached through the partnerships with the NPOs and in conjunction with various faith and community-based organisations.

Logistics 

Food parcels will be delivered, with the support of private sector logistics, across all nine provinces during the course of the nationwide lockdown, which is aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

The introduction of a voucher system will further augment the distribution impact.

The parcels will provide a family with food essentials for 2 - 4 weeks, depending on the size of the household. 

The decisions as to which households will receive the parcels, as well as the physical distribution, will be undertaken by the DSD, NPOs and faith-based community-based organisations through their established networks.

The Fund, together with the relevant national and provincial governments, has however, played an active role in determining the areas for delivery. This is to help ensure that there is limited duplication of efforts and that underserviced places receive the necessary aid.

“Given the scale and complexity of the crisis, it is important to point out that this is a short-term intervention, while a more sustainable solution is developed and implemented by government and other social partners.

“We acknowledge that we are being ambitious in our targets, but an issue of this magnitude requires bold action and innovative thinking,” Nqweni said.

The Fund will enter into individual and independent contracts directly with the NPO implementing agents and has implemented active monitoring measures to ensure the efficient delivery of food aid.

Each of the organisations will submit daily reports with information on how many parcels were delivered that day, to which areas and through which local community-based organisation, faith-based organisation distribution partners and provide qualitative feedback.

“I would also like to thank South Africans for their continued outpouring of generosity. The Fund currently sits at R2.3 billion and has been significantly bolstered by the recent donations from senior public and private sector executives of a third of their salaries,” Nqweni said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the establishment of the Solidarity Fund on 23 March. – SAnews.gov.za

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