Food Bank goes digital to eliminate fraud and improve disbursements
The Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Hon Zephania Kameeta, and the United Nations World Food Programme this week launched the computer-based SCOPE (System for Cash Operations) for its social safety net Food Bank programme in Windhoek.
The electronic system, adapted for the effective administration of the Food Bank, will be piloted in Windhoek before it is rolled out to other regions.
Launching the system, Kameeta said that the newly introduced biometric system would be used to register beneficiaries as well as monitor the distribution and transfer of food parcels.
“Previously the Food Bank was run via a paper-based system. The old system brought many challenges regarding the registration of beneficiaries, sorting of food parcels, transfers and furthermore fraud. SCOPE addresses all the above challenges,” Kameeta said.
As part of the new electronic system, beneficiaries will be issued with a card that contains their details.
“The card will also be linked to their fingerprints and will have a unique identification number to prevent duplication and fraud,” he said.
According to Kameeta, the electronic system would also accelerate national efforts to advance social welfare for all citizens in the face of persistent poverty and vast gaps of inequality.
The World Food Programme’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, Lola Castro said the Namibian government is the first in the Southern Africa Development Community to adopt the SCOPE system and has thus become a model for other countries.
“The implementation of the biometric system would, therefore, lead to improvement through the effective management of a database of beneficiaries and also save time,” Castro said.
According to Castro, the launch of the SCOPE system further promotes the adaptation of technology and innovation to propel and drive development to achieve zero hunger, as stipulated under Goal Two of the Sustainable Development Goals which Namibia has ratified.
The Food Bank, officially launched on 30 June 2016 by the President, HE Dr Hage Geingob, currently benefits more than 17,000 Namibians in the Kharas, Khomas, Hardap, Kavango East and Kavango West regions. (Xinhua)