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Food Grant Project

open market with red bea

In September 2008, the Department of Social Services in Botswana appointed Smartswitch Botswana (Pty) Ltd to distribute government grants electronically. The programme was aimed at digitizing the food grant process, moving from the delivery of monthly food baskets to receiving food coupons on a biometric smartcard which could be spent at selected food retailers.


Food grant beneficiaries across Botswana were onboarded and issued their biometric smartcards between September 2008 and March 2009. The distribution of food grants to vulnerable households began on 1st April 2009. Using Paycode’s EDAPT technology as the platform, the Ministry distributes electronic funds to over 70 000 active beneficiaries who use the virtual wallets on their biometric smartcards to purchase food items from over 1200 active retailers participating in the food program. The food grant funds are ring-fenced specifically for food items, meaning that it is impossible to spend the funds on items that are not part of the food grant program, ensuring integrity of the social grant program and that the funds are only available for their intended use: eradicating hunger.


The Electronic Food Coupon System project was so successful that SmartSwitch Botswana won a prize in the prestigious United Nations Public Service Awards competition.

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