On the 22nd of March, the Tunisian government imposed a nationwide lockdown in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Tunisian NGO, Banque Alimentaire Durable has set up an SMS-based voucher system to help the poor and vulnerable weather the economic hardship brought about by the pandemic.
The NGO launched the initiative just before the start of the holy month of Ramadaan. According to Le Figaro, the sustainable food bank, in collaboration with the Tunisian Ministry of Women, has selected 300 families living in poor neighbourhoods in Tunis to benefit from the vouchers, which will be sent via SMS.
Once the citizens receive the code, they will be able to purchase goods for between €20 and €30 (about R395 and R590) per week at one of the local grocery stores. In addition to the aid from the NGO, the organization aims to encourage needy families to become more self-sufficient, for example, growing vegetables in their gardens.
According to the NGO, they hope to expand the initiative to marginalized inland regions. “Our objective is to provide food aid to needy people and in exchange, they agree to take part in initiatives aimed at integrating them socially and professionally,” said Aisha Zakraoui, member of the NGO.