RMI hands out Covid $$

Local residents crowded around the Ministry of Finance starting last weekend in response to lists of names taped to the walls outside the ministry who are eligible to collect $250 Covid relief checks. Photo: Wilmer Joel.

EVE BURNS and HILARY HOSIA

Vulnerable families received Asian Development Bank Covid relief funding from Ministry of Finance this past week. The funds being distributed were from a $1.5 million Covid grant provided by the Asian Development Bank.

Finance used the Early Childhood Development (ECD) program’s list of vulnerable families to identify the families in Majuro to receive the one-time Covid relief stimulus funding. 

These ECD-registered vulnerable families along with 181 people with disabilities, 140 taxi drivers and unemployed seniors in Majuro are listed to benefit from this Covid relief funding via the Ministry of Finance.

The Ministry of Culture and Internal Affairs ECD program’s second distribution to vulnerable families is scheduled for December mothers in the ECD should not be worried.

There are 875 ECD Majuro families who are listed to receive $250. Some were able to pick up their checks on Saturday and the line outside Finance continued on Monday.

ECD Consultant Pablo Stansbery told the Journal that the interviews for Ebeye have not started but will happen this week and next hence the names currently on the ECD list are of Majuro families only.

“We provided all the names of families with young children who completed the ECD intake interviews — nearly all of these families are vulnerable families,” said Pablo. “The families (getting checks) at Ministry of Finance are families who completed the ECD intake interview,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ebeye has until this Friday to muster 300 complete interviews with mothers/guardians under the Early Childhood Development Program to be eligible for Covid relief.

Late last week and at the weekend, hordes of mothers and guardians living in Majuro collected their one-time $250 Covid relief from the Ministry of Finance building in Majuro. A press release from the Early Childhood Development Program Facebook page later explained that mothers who have completed their interview process are set to receive Covid relief.

The $250 is from the government and not from the agreed payment mothers/guardians would receive through Bank of Marshall Islands debit cards, according to ECD officials.

The level of stress and chaos at the Ebeye Ministry of Culture and Internal Affairs is at an all time high given the fresh directive from Majuro, according to sources on Ebeye.

The person who was responsible for completion of the ECD program interviews recently switched jobs, leaving the program in a tight corner.

In short, the directive from Majuro said Ebeye must come up with 300 mothers to be paid before Christmas under the one-time scheme. Names must be submitted this Friday.

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