United States provides $14.3 million to World Food Programme to support refugees in Kenya

Published on 07 December 2018

NAIROBI – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is contributing US$14.3 million (1.4 billion Kenyan shillings) to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to provide food assistance to more than 400,000 refugees living in northern Kenya.

With this contribution, WFP will provide direct cash transfers to refugees in Dadaab and Kakuma camps and in Kalobeyei settlement through February 2019.

“Since the beginning of this year, funding for the cash component of the refugees’ food basket has remained unpredictable and dangerously low,” said Annalisa Conte, WFP Country Director and Representative in Kenya. “We are grateful to the American people for their generosity and at the same time, we appeal to all donors to help secure funding needed to guarantee continued food assistance to refugees.”

“The United States government has and will always stand with disadvantaged men, women and children displaced from their countries by conflict or natural disasters,” said USAID’s Mission Director, Mark Meassick. “USAID is proud to partner with WFP and the Government of Kenya at both national and county levels in supporting food and nutrition security for refugees through the Bamba Chakula program, which also benefits host communities by stimulating local markets and creating jobs."

In the Dadaab and Kakuma camps, WFP provides food assistance to refugees in the form of a mix of food items – cereals, pulses, vegetable oil and nutrient-enriched flour – and a cash transfer called Bamba Chakula, which is Swahili-based slang for ‘get your food.’

The cash, sent through mobile telephones, allows refugees to buy food of their choice from local markets. USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) partners with WFP to provide relief and build resilience among the most vulnerable populations in Kenya’s arid and semi-arid counties.

Each refugee in families of two or more in Dadaab and Kakuma camps now receives 400 Kenyan shillings (US$4), up from 300 Kenyan shillings (US$3) in September, via their mobile telephone. Single member families will continue receiving 500 Kenyan shillings (US$5) while each refugee in Kalobeyei settlement will continue to receive 1,400 Kenyan shillings (US$14) each month.

From October, WFP’s monthly cash transfer to refugees in Daadab, Kakuma and Kalobeyei increased to 220 million Kenyan shillings (US$2.2 million), up from 170 million Kenyan shillings (US$1.7 million). WFP is working with over 800 traders to serve refugees. The cash transfers to refugees have greatly boosted trading in the Dadaab, Kakuma and Kalobeyei markets. Overall, WFP requires US$7 million to provide food assistance to refugees in Kenya every month.

While cash represents only a portion of the assistance given to the 400,000 refugees, it plays an important role in providing dietary diversity. Cash supports local purchase of specialized nutritious produce, like fresh fruit and vegetables, and promotes the development of local markets.

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The United Nations World Food Programme - saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.

USAID leads international food assistance efforts within the U.S. Government. Through Food for Peace, USAID provides emergency food assistance to those affected by conflict and natural disasters, and provides development food assistance to address the underlying causes of hunger and improve food security in the long term.

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For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):
Martin Karimi, WFP/Nairobi, Tel. +254 20 762 2301, Mob. +254 707 722 161
Peter Smerdon, WFP/Nairobi, Tel. +254 20 762 2179, Mob. +254 707 722 104