WFP Activities Reduce Need for Out-Migration
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Published on 5 August 2010

“Many women like us had to leave our children behind to work in India ... Sometimes women were victims of prostitution, when they returned from their villages, they came with AIDS/HIV. Thanks to WFP we are able to stay in our village and improve our community” – Shova Kumari

Every year, thousands of men and women in the Baitadi district of far-western Nepal are forced to leave their families and land to search for work in India in order to survive. While remittances from out-migration have played a major role in decreasing poverty over the past 10 years, for poor and unskilled

labourers the financial benefits are often negligible and come with significant health costs.

Women often suffer the most. Those who are left behind are forced to manage the double burden of farm work and child raising, often without knowing when their partner will return with money or food. Those women forced to go abroad are highly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. 

However, in Shikhapur VDC, things are changing. WFP’s Food/Cash-for-Assets (F/CFA) programme, is providing cash and food to local villagers in exchange for their work on constructing community assets that will promote improved food security. Through providing enough food/cash for 20 days, households are able to support themselves during the lean season and do not need to out-migrate. In addition, it is hoped that the assets created will support  the overall food-security situation and reduce the need for out migration in future years.
“Many women like us had to leave our children behind to work in India as household staff, if we were lucky,” says Shova Kumari, Head of the Asset User Committee. “Sometimes women were victims of prostitution, and when they returned to their villages, they came with AIDS/HIV.” A large proportion of WFP’s Food/Cash for Asset programme’s beneficiaries in Baitadi are women, and when asked how they use the cash they receive, they say they use it to buy food, pay for their children’s education and to set up small trading businesses.  

In Shikhapur VDC, WFP has supported the development of a community building for the purpose of food storage. “We are going to use the new building to store agricultural produce since we have no storage space here in the community. This will stop our food from getting damaged and rotten during the rainy times” , explained Shova. 

WFP’s Food/Cash-For-Assets (F/CFA) Programme

WFP’s Food/Cash-For-Assets (F/CFA) programme targets the most food-insecure and vulnerable areas to support communities in developing resources and enterprises aimed at reducing hunger and the impact of shocks, while meeting immediate household food needs. Through the programme, beneficiaries are engaged in projects such as building and repairing roads, bridges, irrigation systems and fishery ponds. For the most effective coverage and to prevent dependency, WFP assistance is carried out between planting and harvest periods when household food stocks are leanest.