Local Business Booms Thanks To WFP Vouchers
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Published on 11 October 2010

Edna Musadabwe, a retailer in Kafue district, Zambia.
 

A retailer redeeming WFP electronic vouchers is opening a large one-stop shop. She says the prospect of regular business from WFP beneficiaries has given her the financial security to plan this new venture.
 

“It's not just WFP beneficiaries who will benefit from the new shop, my one-stop shop will serve the whole community,” says Edna Musadabwe, a local retailer in Kafue district, 45 kms from Lusaka.     
Through the use of WFP’s Mobile Delivery & Tracking (MDT) system, retailers are paid electronically - and instantly - for food rations they ‘sell’ to WFP beneficiaries who pay using a scratch card voucher provided by WFP.
For Edna, this guarantee of sales each month has seen her profits significantly increase to a point where she can now plan for the future. “My new shop will be much bigger, and will stock a wide variety of products that members of the Kafue community normally have to travel to town to find,” she says.
“Since joining the WFP programme last November, I've been able to employ two new girls to work in the shop. When I open my bigger shop, I'll need to employ more people.”
This innovative voucher system helps not just the beneficiaries and local shopkeepers but also supports the wider economy. As the existing stores already stock all the required foodstuffs, this new e-system makes life simpler for all concerned .   
As well as boosting local business, WFPs' use of vouchers gives the vulnerable direct access to the shopkeepers and empowers them as customers. “This programme is personal,” Edna says. “I see the beneficiaries each month when they come into my shop and I have developed friendships with many of them. Just yesterday I met a father collecting on his daughter’s behalf, so now I have met her family too.” The MDT electronic voucher system is currently being used for the WFP social safety net protection programme, SPLASH (Sustainable Programme For Livelihoods and Solutions for Hunger). Edna says she feels honored to have been given the title ‘Mama SPLASH’ by members of the Kafue community.


 

WFP Offices
About the author

Victoria Cavanagh

Communication officer

Victoria is a Communication Officer for the UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) and is based in Rome.