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UNDP Eswatini COVID-19 pandemic support is guided by the needs identified under the National COVID-19 Response Plan and consistent with the World Health Organisation (WHO) ‘COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan’. As in the UNDP’s global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UNDP Eswatini’s support to the National Response for COVID-19 is structured around three key pillars that include, health systems support, inclusive and integrated crisis management response and addressing socio-economic impact.

UNDP Eswatini as part of the national response is supporting through the immediate response to vulnerable populations with emphasis on women, people living disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS, child headed households.  Key to engaging communities is the mapping urgent community needs, coordinate and monitor immediate relief efforts.

In coordination with the humanitarian community, UNDP is working with other UN agencies and local and community based organizations that have knowledge of local realities and vulnerable groups to monitor the situation, maintain contact with those at risk of being left behind in the response and recovery efforts, and provide emergency supplies if necessary (food, medical supply, soap, hygiene products, other non-food items and other benefits provided by the government).

In Eswatini, analysis indicates that the poor and already vulnerable groups constitute most of affected population. An estimated 301,762 people (27% of the population) are at risk of food insecurity. A total of 290,337 people (34% of rural population) are estimated to be in rural areas while 11,425 are in urban areas (4% of urban population).

UNDP has undertaken two key interventions to support emergency response towards the vulnerable communities with the World Food Programme (WFP) and a local NGO – Vuvulane OVC Outreach Foundation.

UNDP and the World Food Programme (WFP) have partnered to provide cash transfers during COVID-19 for US$ 1 million (SZL19 million) for 44,267 households and vulnerable populations. The support for the joint project is for 3 months from June to August 2020. This support targets approximately 36% of the estimated gap of COVID-19 induced food insecure population in Eswatini.  The assistance includes three components that include 

1.      a multi-purpose cash-based transfer targeting most vulnerable communities in urban areas (11,425 people/2285 households) and rural areas (32.842 people/6,568 households) for a period of three months.

2.      Provision of recovery packages that include cash grants for business restart and support on basic infrastructure to support conducive environment for trade in compliance to the COVID regulations has been provided for 2,250 urban informal traders. The informal traders targeted are within the Mbabane - Manzini corridor. The targeted groups are informal traders which include but not limited to hawkers, second-hand clothing traders, fruit and vegetables vendors, handicraft traders, saloons, small scale farmers, cross boarder traders, among others.

3.      Support further development and strengthening of national Social assistance framework- WFP will provide an additional US$250,000.00 (SZL4.6million) to support the modernisation of the social grants payment including cash-based emergency response.  This focuses on policy intervention and supporting digitalisation of the cash grants systems which has also involved partnerships with the mobile phone providers.  

Through the Vuvulane OVC Outreach Foundation, UNDP is providing COVID-19 relief support in the form of food and subsistence farming inputs targeting 150 vulnerable households in Vuvulane’s five informal settlements of Mgidza, Khomba, Macethuka, Section 19 and VIF. The settlements are in immediate need of food emergency supplies.  The support includes food hampers worth SZL155,247.00 for 300 families, SZL33,216.00 for the supply of seedlings for 120 families for home gardens and compost and SLZ51,484.00 for other subsistence farming capacitation. The food hampers will support the 150 families for a period of two months. 

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