BISHKEK – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in the Kyrgyz Republic has launched a digital E-wallet solution as part of its nation-wide cash-based transfer (CBT) programme that supports vulnerable households in urban and peri-urban areas. The initiative was made possible with generous funding from the Government of Switzerland.
The pilot project is being rolled out in four cities of Kyrgyzstan: Tokmok, Kara-Balta, Osh and Jalal-Abad, with a planned expansion to cover 23 cities and towns. In total, US$ 146,000 will be distributed among 1,460 vulnerable families (US$ 100 per family) for their participation in various community development projects, such as rehabilitation of local infrastructure or skills trainings to help improve their job prospects. Priority will be given to households living below the national poverty line, single female-headed households, large families with minors, and households with people with disabilities.
Digital solutions, such as E-wallet, offer better security, tracking, and improved efficiency, transparency, accountability for humanitarian organizations. It provides choice and dignity, enabling vulnerable people to access a range of digital services and choose how to spend the assistance they receive. In addition, the initiative will enhance the financial literacy of the people WFP supports, as they will be trained to use new digital tools and payment methods.
“Thanks to the generous contribution from the Government of Switzerland, WFP is able to use mobile money services to support families in meeting their basic needs. Compared with the traditional ‘cash-over-counter’ method, E-wallet is an innovative tool that provides families with not only wider, better services but also the freedom to decide how they would like to spend the cash they receive,” says Michael Huggins, WFP Officer in Charge in the Kyrgyz Republic.
WFP’s programme is designed to address the root causes of food insecurity and malnutrition through improving the safety nets for the poorest during emergency situations. In 2020, the Government of Switzerland allocated US$ 2.5 million toward WFP’s COVID-19 response project for families affected by socio-economic shocks, which have pushed more people into poverty and unemployment. Conditional cash assistance – equivalent to the cost of 150 kg of wheat flour and 15 litres of vegetable oil per participant.
The Government of Switzerland