-But non-vulnerable persons seize “opportunity” to!
BY SAH TERENCE & BIAMI BLEEZI
Close to 1,600 persons benefited from some financial support under the Safety Net project, November 17, 2020 at the North West governor’s office.
Within the past two years, the World Bank has pumped in about FCFA 70 Billion into the Safety Net project in Cameroon, in a bid to strengthen the fight against poverty. The project offers financial support to vulnerable persons within the project area.
Due to the escalation of the Anglophone crisis that has sent so many families into abject poverty and displaced so many from their initial habitats, the Safety Net Project in Bamenda I, II, and III has been made to also target some internally displaced persons within these areas.
The one-year government project done in collaboration with the World Bank, Life Day and other international organisations has as main aim to assist people living in abject poverty in 25 council areas of the North West Region.
The North West regional coordinator of the project, Kanjo Elvis, talking on the importance of the project explained that “It is a poverty alleviation project aimed at helping vulnerable people and IDPs who have been affected by the Anglophone crisis. We presume to pay the 3,500 people present here FCFA 30.000 each”, he said.
The one hundred and five million given to 3,500 beneficiaries from Bamenda I, II and III council areas is the first phase of the emergency cash transfer project to assist vulnerable persons meet their needs.
Joseph Suh, a beneficiary who is visually impaired appreciated the support he considered timely. “I am grateful for this kind gesture done to me today by Safety Net. This money will give me food for one month. Though I will be hungry again, am thankful for the little I have today.” Sidiki Hurera, an IDP from Bali was happy it will provide her children’s school needs and food. “I will use this money to send my children to school, buy books, pens, shoes and feed them”, Hurera explained.
However, despite the fact that this project targets vulnerable persons, the selection criteria has cast doubts on the minds of many as the registration was carried out at the sub divisional offices and there was very little communication thus many mobilisers are suspected to have registered mainly their relatives.
The beneficiaries were chosen by a community task force headed by the Divisional Officers and Mayors of the III council areas and trainees of the organisation were supposed to focus on households that don’t have access to health, education, accommodation, feeding and physical appearance.
Despite the criteria put in place, some well-to-do people were registered which was the main challenge faced by safety Net. The Regional coordinator explained that “Aside security issues, getting those who are really vulnerable was difficult as some trainees put names of their relatives who are well to do, reason why we put the lists at the D.O’s and Mayor’s office for the public to help us screen”, he added.
A data and surveys expert who spoke to The SUN thinks for such a phenomenon of cheating humanitarian organisations of cash meant for vulnerable persons to end, there is need for beneficiaries to be selected only after administering a digital questionnaire using smart tablets with GPS tracking, voice recognition and camera abilities so as to actually take pictures of the interviewees to be uploaded into the surveys data base for quality control and screening of falsified data.
“Digital tools like Surveys to Go, Maps.Me and Google Earth will greatly solve this problem. It may not solve 100% but can solve 90%. It is difficult to falsify data with such tools given that Surveys to Go records voice and takes GPS location of each interview at various intervals of the interview. Secondly, pictures of each beneficiary and their household will carry a GPS stamp thus making the quality control process to pick just the right people for the list”, he said.
Many vulnerable persons and genuine IDPs have continued to pray for persons with good consciences to do the right thing when called upon so that they can equally benefit.