Tunisia: coupons via SMS for poor families

A Tunisian NGO has set up a telephone voucher system to help needy families to meet their food needs, a kind of remote food bank during the new coronavirus crisis.

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The long-running initiative was launched at the beginning of Ramadan in late April, when thousands of households lost their source of income due to containment ordered on March 22 to fight the spread of the new corona virus.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Women, the NGO “Sustainable Food Bank” has selected 300 families living in the poor parts of Tunis to benefit from coupons, sent via SMS.

In return, these people agree to accept being monitored so we can integrate them socially and professionally through various initiatives

Each of these families gets a code that allows them to spend 40 to 60 dinars (20 to 30 euros) per week at one of the grocery stores in their neighborhood, provided they are equipped with the “Viamobile” application.

“With Ramadan and containment, I can’t go out or work,” said Messaouda Raouafi, 49, who, through these coupons, was able to buy oil, milk, coffee and flour.

“I can no longer do housework to feed my seven children,” she explains.

NGOs, which fund these donations with the help of entrepreneurs who compose it, hope to extend this initiative to marginalized inner regions.

Exceptional support

In addition to these tools, NGOs also want to encourage these families to be more independent, for example by teaching them how to grow vegetables in their garden or by selling homemade bread.

“In return, these people agree to agree to be monitored so that we can integrate them socially and professionally through various initiatives,” Aïcha Zakraoui, one of the project’s initiators, said on Saturday.

Thanks to this initiative, Farah’s grocery store, located in Kram, a popular suburb of Tunis, no longer needs to lend at the expense of its financial balance: “The money is sent to us in advance, then customers do their business with the money they received. ”

Her store accepted this initiative “because the area where we are has many poor families, unemployed,” she said.

Estimating that two million of the 11.5 million Tunisians need help during containment, the government has paid thousands of households exceptional support of 200 dinars (80 euros), hoping to calm social discontent.

The containment measures began to relax on May 4, with Tunisia officially registering about 1,000 cases, including 45 deaths.


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