Luxembourg Gives More Cash to OVC

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By Staff reporter WINDHOEK Luxembourg has committed more money to the World Food Programme for the Orphan and Vulnerable Children Food Assistance Programme run by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare. The country’s donation of N$950 000 marks the second donation since 2006 when Luxembourg made a donation of around N$2.4 million to continue the programme, which was temporarily stopped because of lack of funds. Even with this contribution, WFP Country Director John Prout said the programme remains chronically underfunded. “It is very important that we get sufficient funds to continue food distributions until these children have a chance to transfer to the government’s grant system or other types of support,” he said. The transfer of the children from the food assistance programme to the grant system is expected to take place during the course of 2007. WFP and the ministry signed a memorandum of understanding in April 2006 to provide temporary relief for chronically food insecure OVC who were not benefiting from government grants. The programme is meant for OVC in six regions, namely Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshana, Oshikoto, Caprivi and Kavango and started in April 2006. By end of December 2006, over 90 000 food-insecure children had been registered into the programme which at regional level is implemented by the Catholic AIDS Action, Namibia Red Cross Society and ELCIN AIDS Action. The food assistance programme is designed to provide interim food to vulnerable children until all those eligible are absorbed into the government’s child welfare grant system. As of end of March, over 65 000 children had been registered in the grant system. During May, grant application forms will be distributed to all caregivers of OVC who are registered in the food programme together with food assistance to help facilitate the transition from food assistance to grants.