Cash & Vouchers: Something Else For The Toolbox

Published on 11 May 2011

How does it work exactly when a food aid agency gives people cash instead of food? And what about vouchers? WFP's Annalisa Conte answers these questions and more, explaining why WFP is planning to use these options more in the future and in what circumstances they are a valid tool.

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Annalisa Conte heads up WFP's Cash for Change unit, which is working to scale up use of cash and vouchers in the organization's food assistance operations, making them an established part of the toolbox. Before moving into this post in 2011, Annalisa was WFP respresentative in the West African country of Burkina Faso, where she oversaw the roll-out of the first full-scale food voucher operation in Africa.

In this podcast, Annalisa shares some of the 'lessons learned' from the pilot schemes WFP has already launched around the world and makes the critical point that neither cash nor vouchers are a 'silver bullet' able to resolve any situation of food insecurity. When they are used, however, they can be more cost-efficient than traditional food aid.