President Panuelo Develops & Expands $14,000,000 of COVID-19 Related Social Protection Programming

PALIKIR, Pohnpei, Dec 18, 2020)—His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), and the Honorable Yosiwo P. George, Vice President of the FSM, have implemented new social protection programming designed to safeguard the FSM’s citizens against the detrimental economic impact resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Among these programs include a cash transfer grant to approximately 4,500 low-income households outside of the formal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, a food security program for community groups and low-income households to enhance subsistence-living food production, community-based grants to strengthen awareness and prevention of COVID-19, financial assistance to vulnerable groups such as the elderly, persons with disabilities, and survivors of gender-based violence, and a second one-time payment to FSM citizens stranded abroad.

The cash transfer program to approximately 4,500 low-income households is intended to provide temporary cash relief for households outside of the formal labor sector, such as subsistence farmers and fishermen, and specifically such laborers who do not qualify for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program. Approximately six million dollars ($6,000,000) is scheduled for this purpose, and expected to provide a one-time assistance of $1,000 to each low-income household. Households are encouraged to use this assistance to enhance COVID-19 readiness by buying facemasks, sanitary needs, and other COVID-19 preventive items. The Government intends to begin rolling out this social protection program by January 2021.

The food security program for community groups and low-income households is intended to provide subsistence livelihood training, and an equitable distribution of seeds, planting, and fishing materials, to vulnerable citizens at no cost. Approximately two million dollars ($2,000,000) is scheduled for this purpose, and it is the intention of the Government to begin rolling out this social protection program by January 2021.

The community-based COVID-19 awareness grant is intended to strengthen awareness of COVID-19, inclusive of education on handwashing and social distancing, distribution of soaps, masks, and informational materials, and piloting a gender-based violence hotline in Pohnpei State. Approximately two million dollars ($2,000,000) is scheduled for this purpose, and it is the intention of the Government to begin rolling out this social protection program by January 2021.