KAMPALA — The government of the United States of America has permanently terminated the COVID-19 cash transfer program in Uganda over government interference.
The programme, implemented by GiveDirectly, a nonprofit organization that lets donors send money to the world’s poorest and backed by the Ministry of Local Government was being funded by the U.S Agency for International Development – USAID.
Specifically, the program intended to support Ugandans who lost livelihoods as a result of COVID-19, who were at risk of food insecurity and faced serious reductions in household nutrition and the cash transfers according the Embassy were designed to support local markets by providing 120,000 Ugandans across six cities 100,000 UGX each month for three months.
By September, 47,128 Ugandans were enrolled in the program.
Despite the thorough assessment and approval by Cabinet, in September the NGO Bureau announced an additional review of GiveDirectly’s activities in Uganda, resulting in the program’s suspension.
“GiveDirectly addressed the NGO Bureau’s questions, and no irregularities in the cash transfer program or GiveDirectly’s operations were identified,” the US govt said, adding that the program has still not been authorized to resume, and no assurances have been provided that authorization by the government is forthcoming.
In light of this indefinite suspension, the statement added: “it is now unlikely that the program will meet its original objective, which was to prevent COVID related economic backsliding of the most vulnerable Ugandans.”
“Therefore, we are obligated contractually to terminate the program permanently…. We deeply regret that the 120,000 Ugandans identified to participate in this program, along with their surrounding communities, will now not have the opportunity to benefit from it”.
Since the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the United States has provided technical assistance and more than $47 million to help Uganda meet urgent needs in its COVID-19 response.
The initial roll-out direct cash transfers took place in Lira City on August 6, where about 10,000 beneficiaries from three parishes including Kakoge received 100,000 Shillings each, injecting USD 750, 000 (about 2.7 billion) into the local economy.
Founded in 2009, GiveDirectly ranked a top international charity organization has delivered over USD 260 million in cash directly into the hands of over 270,000 households living in poverty across the world.