Media statement: Each 1 Feed 1 Voucher System
From: Nelson Mandela Foundation
Date of publication: 21 August 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten livelihoods and increase the impact of food insecurity in vulnerable communities. As many South Africans fall below the lower bound poverty lines, there have been a number of interventions to provide hunger relief by the state as well as private citizens and civil society organisations. It is clear that the demand overwhelms the supply.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation in collaboration with the Kolisi Foundation and Imbumba Foundation recently launched the #Each1Feed1 Digital Voucher in Potchefstroom, North-West Province. The launch was in partnership with Boxer Superstores and Pick ‘n Pay. The digital voucher system has been introduced as a delivery mechanism preferred to the physical food parcel system because of its flexibility and its prioritisation of beneficiaries’ agency, human dignity and individual preferences. Physical deliveries will remain as an option in contexts where the voucher system is not feasible, such as in remote areas without reasonable access to supermarkets. Now in full swing, the voucher system aims to address safety concerns associated with food parcel distribution while providing an easier and more cost-effective alternative.
“Since the launch of the #Each1Feed1 Digital Voucher, we have seen beneficiaries come to Boxer Orange Farm singing and dancing with their vouchers on their cellphones. The atmosphere was electric and the appreciation expressed by the beneficiaries is inspiring. To see our customers happy and full of hope is encouraging to us as a retailer. We are inspired to continue adding value and touching live in communities across South Africa,” said Boxer Superstore Marketing Director, Andrew Mills.
An outline of how the Vouchers system works:
· This virtual voucher can only be used in-store and cannot be used online
· This is a virtual voucher that will be sent via SMS to a recipient’s cellphone within 1 hour of placing the order (recipients are informed that they will be receiving the voucher so that they do not think it’s spam).
· The voucher is redeemable at any Boxer store nationwide.
· Vouchers cannot be redeemed at Money Market counters.
· Vouchers can be redeemed only once - if the full value of the voucher is not going to be redeemed in one transaction, the remaining value is loaded onto a gift card in store.
One of the priorities of the #Each1Feed1 campaign has been the support of Early Childhood Development (ECD) practitioners. ECD centres are largely NPOs or micro-social enterprises, the vast majority of which are run by Black women. They provide a service that is needs-based in poor communities with limited cash flows, placing them below the minimum wage. Most of the ECD workforce in poor and vulnerable communities are not registered with the Companies Intellectual Properties Commission (CIPC), the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), or the South African Revenue Services (SARS). ECD centres that are not registered cannot apply for relief as a SMME from the Department of Small Business Development under the Covid-19 SSME Relief Funding Scheme. ECD centres are at times not considered in the “back to school” rollout plans as they are part of the Department of Social Development and not part of the Department of Basic Education.
Other priorities of the campaign include asylum seekers, who are significantly more vulnerable as they are excluded from the social grant system, farming and mining communities who rely on their jobs to support their families, as well as children on farms who are dependent on feeding schemes.
With the #Each1Feed1 initiative, we hope to provide short and medium term relief to these households and communities as we all contend with the realities of the current global health crisis.
As a nation, we have shown the ability to overcome the unimaginable. The current pandemic will be overcome with genuine compassion and solidarity with those most severely impacted.