DJIBOUTI – In 2016, thanks to a €700,000 contribution from the European Union, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) was able to provide up to 17,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Djibouti with an innovative package of cash assistance alongside their food rations.
Vital funding from the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) has allowed WFP to provide cash assistance this year for 13,000 refugees from Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea who live in the Ali-Addeh and the Hol-Hol camps, and top-up funds provided toward the end of the year allowed WFP to quickly extend this support to 4,000 asylum seekers who recently arrived from Ethiopia.
“We are enormously grateful to the European Union for helping WFP support refugees and asylum seekers efficiently,” said Jacques Higgins, WFP Country Director for Djibouti. “Because of ECHO’s support, we have been able to change the way we assist refugees in Djibouti by providing cash alongside regular food rations, helping boost the economy in and around the refugee camps while meeting the refugees’ basic food needs.”
The approach offers flexibility and food choices through a combination of monthly food rations and cash distributions. The refugees receive money transfers provided by ECHO, which allows families to buy the food they prefer at local stores. With support from other donors, WFP also provides monthly in-kind rations of staple foods, as well as specially designed fortified supplementary foods for malnourished children and other groups at risk.
ECHO support allowed WFP to establish the cash-and-food initiative in October 2014, and continued funding from ECHO has enabled WFP to sustain the innovative mixed assistance package for refugees since then.
ECHO’s support for the initiative has proved to be crucial for meeting daily food needs of the most vulnerable refugees and combating malnutrition. Moreover, it has boosted the local economy and helped foster income-generating activities, such as small businesses, which are managed by local operational partners.
Through ECHO funds, WFP has also set up a biometric verification process in all refugee camps in Djibouti in order to reduce irregularities and increase the effectiveness of the assistance provided to those in need.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 75 countries.
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