about the author
Public Information Officer
Stephanie Savariaud is a Public Information Officer for East and Central Africa based in Nairobi. Previously she was based in Dakar and Kinshasa.
When shops and markets are full of produce, but prices are still too high for the poor, sometimes it makes more sense to give people vouchers than bags of food.
OUAGADOUGOU -- WFP has launched its first food voucher operation in
The new voucher programme, which was launched in the west African nation of
“Sometimes it makes more sense to give people vouchers than bags of food,” said Annalisa Conte, WFP Country Director in
Under the new programme, family members are given a voucher worth 1,500 francs CFA (US$3) which they can use in shops that have signed a contract with WFP. In exchange for the voucher, people receive maize, cooking oil, sugar, salt and soap. Each family will receive up to six vouchers per month for six months. The retailer is able to redeem food vouchers through an arrangement WFP has made with MICROFI, a local micro finance company.
Next month WFP and its partners will also distribute food vouchers in
An assessment by UN agencies, non-governmental organizations and the government last June showed that the combination of high food prices and decreased employment opportunities had hit people hard in urban areas as they generally have to rely on buying their food in local markets.
Distributing vouchers instead of food can be a more effective way of alleviating hunger in urban environments where markets are strong, because it cuts down on the cost to WFP of transporting and storing food assistance and helps to inject money into the local economy.