More than 580 000 social grant beneficiaries

Govt supports 341 204 vulnerable children
The bulk of the government's social grants goes to 341 204 children, with 192 544 old-age pensioners and 48 472 persons with disabilities making up the rest of the beneficiaries.
Ellanie Smit
The total number of social grant beneficiaries administered by the gender equality and social welfare ministry currently stands at more than 580 000.

These include 341 204 vulnerable children, 192 544 pensioners, and 48 472 persons with disabilities. It represents a 98% coverage for old-age grant beneficiaries, 74% for disability grant beneficiaries and 71% for children’s grant beneficiaries.

Gender equality minister Doreen Sioka said this when she tabled the ministry’s annual budget of N$5.58 billion for the 2022/2023 financial year in parliament.

According to her the allocation represents an increase of 1.2%, which will go a long way in assisting the ministry to reach out and address the plight of more Namibians. She said a total of 9 987 households, representing 42 082 individuals, received food parcels across the country as part of the Government Food Assistance Programme to the urban and peri-urban poor.

Child services

She further said that the ministry continues with the provision of childcare and protection services, food and rations for 140 children in need of protective services placed at Namibia Children’s Home and 214 children enrolled at the After School Centre’s School Integration Programme, as well as the provision of subsidies to 20 private residential child care facilities in line with the Child Care and Protection Act. “The ministry has operationalised shelters for gender-based violence (GBV), violence against children (VAC) and trafficking in person (TIP) victims in eight regions.”

Sioka said there are currently 88 people accommodated in these shelters, while 1 583 children were provided with psychosocial support. Furthermore, Sioka said that children working and living on the streets, which the ministry has integrated into schools, are accommodated at Farm Kaukurus during holidays.

The number of children enrolled at early childhood development (ECD) centres stood at 83 465 on 31 March 2022. There was a 14% decline in the overall enrolment at ECDs as compared to the 2020/21 financial year, which is primarily attributable to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said as part of the ministry’s mandate to improve access to quality ECD programmes and services, the ministry provided monthly subsidies to 1307 ECD edu-carers during the 2021/2022 financial year.

Business support

Sioka added that during the 2021 /2022 financial year 42 beneficiaries, 32 women and 10 men, were supported with materials and equipment to establish or expand their micro businesses through the Income-Generating Activities (IGAs) Support Programme.

Sioka added that 40 Women in Business Association (WIBA) committees were established at constituency levels, while a regional WIBA seminar was held in the region.

She said there are also 1 795 learners from various marginalised communities enrolled at respective primary and secondary schools in the various regions, who were assisted with transportation as part of the Education Support Programme during the 2021/2022 financial year. This number has increased to 2 973 in the current financial year.

Additionally, 240 students registered at various institutions of higher learning are being assisted with the full payment of tuition and accommodation fees as well as monthly living allowances. A total number of 29 004 households of marginalised communities are currently benefitting from the Special Feeding Programme and were provided with food.