BIG Coalition Disburses Grants


By Wezi Tjaronda


The first group of Otjivero residents yesterday received N$100 each as the Basic Income Grant (BIG) Coalition implemented the grant.

The first payout started yesterday and ends today.

It entailed registration and verification of recipients and the payout itself. An elated crowd that gathered under trees to witness the occasion cheered and clapped hands every time one of them received their money.

“It is going to be well from now on,” said one elderly woman who cares for her three orphaned grandchildren.

Most households who have a senior citizen were surviving on old age pension payouts not only for food but also for school-related expenses.

Ouma Bettie Naugas told New Era that she would not only be able to pay school fees and buy food but also buy clothes for her three grandchildren under her care.

Max Smith, who has 12 people in his household, said BIG was a welcome relief. As a casual worker on commercial farms, he could only raise between N$200 and N$300 per month for his family.

“We used to ask for food sometimes. But now we will have enough money to buy food, pay school fees and even save for future use,” said Smith.

The biggest need for most households who live in dire poverty is food. The coalition conducted a baseline survey on the living conditions of the residents in November last year. New Era understands that most of the households interviewed complained of hunger as they could only afford two meals, sometimes only one a day.

The baseline survey will be conducted every six months over the next two years to assess the impact of the grant.

Reverend Claudia Haarmann of the BIG Secretariat said children from the 50 interviewed households were weighed to check on their nutritional status. It is suspected that the children are malnourished. The results of the survey will be released around March after the data is analysed.

The coalition is piloting the grant on about 1ǟ


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