Wed | Jul 8, 2020

2,700 PATH families to get financial assistance

Published:Wednesday | May 27, 2020 | 4:37 PM
Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Kamina Johnson Smith (left), with United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mariko Kagoshima, at the handing over of US$1 million to the Government on May 27, 2020 – Contributed photo

Danae Hyman, Staff Reporter

Approximately 2,700 families on the government’s Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) are to receive financial assistance as a part of the United Nations (UN) Secretary General’s COVID-19 Multi Partners' Trust Fund (MPTF). 

The UN today officially handed over US$1 million to the Government to assist with the unprecedented challenges caused by COVID-19, with US$600,000 to be allocated to provide social protection to vulnerable families. 

“This grant was created by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. He was particularly concerned about the socio-economic impact of COVID. During the Ebola crisis, many more people died due to lack of social protection measures or access to basic services than the Ebola virus itself. The UN learned hard lessons. We cannot be focusing only on the health interventions but we have to see much larger. For example, people who lost jobs, what happens to the families? Children who couldn’t go to school? Lots of women or children are going to be exploited because there is no access to good employment or good education.

“There are two interventions. One is to top up the current PATH programme amount for the duration of three months. Those families receiving PATH programmes are going to receive top up so that they can cope for the immediate impact of the COVID. We are focusing on families with children with disabilities and also mothers with very small children who are already in the PATH programme,” said UN resident coordinator, Mariko Kagoshima.

Further, she said that the second intervention will focus on providing support to 1,000 female farmers, arguing that they are the ones who are having difficulties finding customers.

Kagoshima also indicated that the administration will seek to connect the produce from farmers to PATH beneficiaries.

It was outlined that the remaining US$400,000 is to be used for health intervention such as the immediate procurement of equipment and to maintain basic health services. 

“The UN has been working closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and we were given the four specific areas to work on: health, education, social protection and food security. So when we were given this opportunity to participate in the MPTF we decided along this line and I hope this amount will be used quickly and help the beneficiaries to support their recoveries,” Kagoshima said. 

Foreign Affairs Minister, Kamina Johnson Smith, who received the grant on behalf of the government, shared that the donation will be used to address the pressing needs of Jamaicans over the next 12 to 18 months. 

Jamaica is among 47 countries that have benefited from the fund. 

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