Now in the middle of the lean season, WFP is scaling up its operation in Burkina Faso by launching cash interventions that aim to assist over 92,000 households to purchase available food on local markets.
WFP launched its first cash intervention in Sao village in northern Burkina Faso. On the first day, WFP and its partners distributed 12,000 CFA (about $23) to each of the 439 beneficiary households in the district. WFP’s cash intervention is to take place during each of the four months of the lean season and aims to assist over 92,000 households.
The use of vouchers and cash transfers is intended to strengthen local markets, increase the productivity of small-holder farmers and empower beneficiaries. Vouchers and cash transfers empower food-insecure people by enabling them to prioritize their needs and act accordingly. Studies have shown that cash transfers are overwhelmingly used to purchase food. Using vouchers and cash transfers has the additional benefit of reducing transportation costs associated with collecting bulky food items at distribution sites. By capitalizing on available food, vouchers and cash transfers boost economic activity on local markets and create new livelihood opportunities for the poor.
Cash interventions are complex, as they require extensive assessment and collaboration before, during and after the operation. WFP works closely with Government actors and NGO distribution partners. Households are selected, based on specific criteria, in each district in close collaboration with local state infrastructures and NGOs on the spot. During the intervention, cash sums are mobilized and distributed using microfinance tools, under the supervision of local authority and security agents.
Cash distributions in Burkina Faso are in line with the Government’s Phase 3 response to the food emergency that covers the critical lean season (July-October), when an estimated 2.9 million people will be food insecure. WFP cash distributions are integrated in a broad operation that aims to assist over 1.1 million people in 170 districts in the 10 regions at risk. Beneficiaries in the three most food insecure areas receive rations of cereals, pulses and vegetable oil. In the seven regions where food markets are stable, WFP's assistance consists of cash transfers to vulnerable households.