Chisinau, Moldova – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Government of the Republic of Moldova, today announced that cash will soon be provided to both refugees fleeing Ukraine and families hosting them in Moldova. It follows an initial small scale cash distribution from UNHCR in February.
Cash will be distributed electronically, using a prepaid card scheme set up in collaboration with Moldova’s largest bank, maib. UNHCR’s local partners CRS / Caritas Moldova, ensure enrolment using an innovative PRIMES system to collect biodata, in line with Government practice. This will ensure that cash grants are distributed efficiently and without duplication.
Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova, Natalia Gavrilița said “Refugees are arriving in Moldova with little more than the clothes they are wearing and the few items they could carry. It is important that UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies provide cash to help them meet their immediate needs. We appreciate that similar support is being extended to vulnerable Moldovan families who have generously opened their homes to the refugees”.
UNHCR Representative in Moldova, Francesca Bonelli, said “The government and people of Moldova have shown extraordinary solidarity in welcoming unprecedented numbers of refugees into their country and into their homes in the past weeks. When people are forced to flee their homes, they leave with the bare essentials, losing their ability to earn and spend in the process. Providing immediate cash assistance to refugees and to their Moldovan hosts is an absolute priority.”
Moldovan Minister of Labour and Social Protection, Marcel Spatari said “Our borders remain open for all those who need to access our territory, but more support must continue to reach all those in need”.
WFP Head of Office in Moldova, Cesar Arroyo explained that, “providing cash is an ideal way for affected families to buy the items that they need, when they need them. There is a positive secondary impact too when the cash is spent in Moldovan shops, supporting the local economy.”
Provision of cash assistance is a collaborative effort led by the Government, and supported by UNHCR, WFP, IOM, UNICEF, NGOs and other actors.
UNHCR has been providing cash support for refugees in many countries hosting refugees around the world. This type of support offers dignity of choice in meeting needs, while facilitating inclusion, and boosting local economies. It is currently being rolled out in several countries hosting refugees fleeing from Ukraine. Cash distribution is also closely aligned with the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees in terms of easing pressure on host communities and enhancing refugee self-reliance.
WFP provides cash support to empower families with choice to address their essential needs in local markets, while also helping boost those markets. In 2021, WFP transferred US$ 2.3 billion of purchasing power to 41.8 million people in 69 countries. Where markets and financial sectors are functioning, as is the case in Moldova, cash transfers can be an effective path to achieve food security and nutrition outcomes.
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