The Ministry of Social Affairs, the United States, and UNICEF launched today a $60 million program that will expand Tunisia’s national Social Safety Net system to provide direct support for children and vulnerable families across Tunisia. The program will provide immediate relief to children from vulnerable families as the world faces economic and social challenges exacerbated by rising global costs resulting from the crisis in Ukraine. The $60 million grant will provide monthly cash transfers to vulnerable families with children ages 6-18, reaching 305,000 children, and includes a range of accompanying measures for quality social services.
The partnership was launched during an event attended by the Minister of Social Affairs Malek Zahi, U.S. Embassy Chargée d’Affaires Natasha Franceschi, USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator Megan Doherty, UN Resident Coordinator Arnaud Peral, and UNICEF Representative ad interim Silvia Chiarucci.
Minister of Social Affairs Malek Zahi underlined: “This program strengthens the existing social protection schemes under AMEN Social for children aged 6-18 from vulnerable households and by doubling the Tunisian Government’s 2022-2023 back to school benefit for over 420,000 children. The child grant consolidates ongoing reforms of the social protection system in Tunisia, a key pillar of the government reform agenda.”
“This USAID-led initiative is a testament to the United States’ commitment to the Tunisian people. Our support through UNICEF will help provide immediate relief for the most vulnerable Tunisians amid the broad array of economic shocks they face. We also remain committed to supporting Tunisia’s civil society and the private sector as they strive to advance democracy and build a prosperous economic future for all Tunisians,” said Chargée d’Affaires Franceschi.
“We know the impacts of COVID-19 and rising food and fuel costs can affect families differently. Through our partnership with UNICEF, we will ensure this money directly reaches Tunisians so they can make the right decisions for their families and the future,” said USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator Megan Doherty.
UN Resident Coordinator Arnaud Peral noted, “The United Nations supports Tunisia in the current difficult context marked by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the crisis in Ukraine. The program presented today confirms the Tunisian Government’s commitment to strengthen the national social protection floor, continue investing in human capital and quality social services amid compound crises, and the principle of leaving no one behind.”
UNICEF Representative ad interim Silvia Chiarucci stated, “UNICEF is honored to support the Government of Tunisia in its investments in children, especially the most vulnerable. The monthly child benefit is a building block of universal social protection and the accompanying measures strengthen the equity, inclusion and quality of social services. I would like to sincerely thank the Government of Tunisia, the United States government, and the other partners of the social protection system for this partnership, building an opportunity for every child to reach their full potential.”