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Tunisia: Social assistance for children in need

News from 2020-12-14 / KfW Development Bank

young boy in a classroom
The proportion of young people in the Tunisian population is high. KfW is now providing them targeted support during the coronacrisis.

The Corona pandemic is plunging already vulnerable families into an even greater crisis. Income from informal work often fails. The Tunisian government has been providing social assistance to needy families for a long time, and has increased its efforts in the Corona crisis. KfW is supporting this corona aid on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) with a grant of EUR 12 million.

Poor families in Tunisia mostly live from hand to mouth. Work in the informal sector often falls away because of the Corona pandemic. Negative economic growth is expected for 2020. There is no savings among the poor sections of the population, yet food, school supplies and doctor's visits have to be paid for. Since 1986, the Tunisian government has been granting a kind of social assistance equivalent to EUR 46 per month to particularly needy families. 230,000 beneficiaries are registered in the programme. In addition, up to 620,000 people with low or irregular incomes receive free medical care.

Now, additional aid will be paid to needy families to ensure that children in particular do not suffer hardship. The UN Children's Fund UNICEF, in cooperation with the Tunisian Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, is supporting the aid for particularly affected families. In doing so, UNICEF is using available data from the two existing Tunisian social programmes. At the beginning of December, KfW signed a financing agreement with UNICEF to finance the UNICEF project with EUR 12 million as part of the BMZ's Corona emergency aid. The transfers are intended to help ensure that poor children in Tunisia are adequately fed and have access to education and health facilities.

"The project is very important in the context of the Corona pandemic in Tunisia," says KfW expert Sebastian Aichele. "In particular, it is important to ensure that children from socially disadvantaged families in particular do not lose out as a result of the additional hardships."

From 2021, the introduction of a basic protection system is planned, which is part of a reform programme in Tunisia financed by several donors, including KfW and the World Bank. The UNICEF programme serves as a short-term bridge until the new social system takes effect. In addition to the transfer payments, campaigns are also planned to raise awareness among parents about the importance of school attendance, balanced nutrition, vaccinations and disease prevention.

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