Namibia's Food Bank goes digital

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-21 22:08:42|Editor: xuxin
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WINDHOEK, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Namibian government and United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on Wednesday launched the computer-based SCOPE (System for Cash Operations) for its social safety net Food Bank programme in Namibia's capital, Windhoek.

The electronic system, adapted towards the effective administration of the Food Bank, will be piloted in Windhoek before it is rolled out to other regions.

Launching the system, Namibia's Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Zephania Kameeta said that the newly introduced biometric system would be used to register beneficiaries as well as monitor the distribution and transfer of food parcels.

"Previously the Food Bank was run via a paper-based system. The old system brought many challenges regarding the registration of beneficiaries, sortation of food parcels, transfers and furthermore fraud. SCOPE addresses all the above challenges," Kameeta said.

As part of the new electronic system, beneficiaries will be issued with a card that contains their details.

"The card will also be linked to their fingerprints and will each have its unique identification number; done to prevent duplication and fraud," he said.

According to Kameeta, the electronic system would also accelerate national efforts geared towards advancing social welfare for its citizens in the face of persistent poverty and vast gaps of inequality in the country.

WFP's Regional Director for Southern Africa, Lola Castro said that the Namibian government becomes the first in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region to adopt the SCOPE system, and thus becomes a model for other countries.

"The implementation of the biometric system would, therefore, lead to improvement, through the effective management of a database of beneficiaries and also saves time," Castro said.

According to Castro, the launch of the SCOPE system further promotes the adaptation of technology and innovation to propel and drive development to achieve zero hunger, as stipulated under Goal two of the Sustainable Development Goals to which Namibia has ratified.

The Food Bank, officially launched on June 30, 2016, by Namibian President, Hage Geingob currently benefits more than 17,000 citizens from the Kharas, Khomas, Hardap as well as Kavango East and West regions.

The Namibian government has dedicated 8.7 percent of its national budget of social protection interventions in the current fiscal year.