On 21 August, at the Saag-nioniogo site for Malian refugees, just outside of the capital Ouagadougou, WFP Burkina Faso pilots a cash transfer programme for refugees of 3,500 CFA (US$ 7) a month, per person in collaboration with UNHCR. In addition to the cash, refugees receive oil, salt, rice, beans and Supercereal, a fortified corn soya blend.
A mother with her child just before she receives her cash. In total, over the two days, an estimated 2,800 refugees are to receive a total of US$ 20,000 in cash. These are the first cash transfers that WFP has provided to Malian refugees.
Soumaila Salama holds her money, standing in front of a banner with the logo of the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) whose funding made this activity possible. “This money will allow me to buy milk for my children and also, meat, vegetables and firewood,” said Soumaila, a mother of five.
A refugee buys milk from a woman who has come from a nearby village. Customers can either drink the milk on the spot or have it transferred to a plastic bag. For many of the refugees, milk and meat are staple parts of their diet. Providing cash allows them to have a more diverse diet and one that better fits their cultural norms.
Condiments for sale, including onions (both dried and fresh), aubergines, bouillon cubes, and small twists of spices, which cost just a few pennies. The transfers will inject cash into the local economy, improving both the lives of the refugees and inhabitants of the surrounding communities.
Milk sellers sit with empty containers as their milk sold in just a few hours. “The refugees bought milk from us on credit and now we are waiting for them to get their money at the distribution and repay us. Business is good,” said Aissatou Diallo, seated on left.
Young Malian refugee boys look at the whiteboard announcing the changes in rations for refugees. The distribution at the Saag-nioniogo refugee site is the pilot phase of the cash transfers for refugees. The town of Bobo-Dioulasso and the two official refugee sites in the Sahel Region - Goudebou and Mentao - will soon be part of the cash transfer programme.