Twenty-seven year old Hanan from Ibb receiving the equivalent of US$27.50. Copyright: WFP/Fares Khoailed
WFP Yemen’s innovative emergency safety net activities are designed to ‘top up’ food gaps for severely vulnerable households. This month, WFP began using cash transfers in areas where markets function and are easily accessible to beneficiaries.
Al-Dumay, YEMEN – In Yemen, five million people worry at the end of each day whether they have just eaten their last dinner or if they will be able to secure the next day’s meals for their children. In a country where hunger is a common fixture of many Yemenis everyday lives, WFP’s newly-launched cash assistance give a bit of hope to many families.
“Receiving this money means I will not have to send my three young children to work in the villages collecting plastic. I will spend in on basic food stuffs for the family,” says Hanan a 27-year-old mother in Al-Dumay village near Taiz.
This month, WFP began providing cash transfers to 57,000 households in Ibb and Taiz governorates. Designed to help people supplement their food consumption, cash transfers are part of WFP’s US$250 million emergency operation.
Hanan’s family is among 57,000 households in Ibb and Taiz who began this month receiving WFP’s cash transfers. Through the programme, each targeted family receives the equivalent of US$27.50 per month. While families are free to spend the cash as they want, surveys have shown that most of the money is spent on food with the remainder being used for other essentials such as health care or schooling.
For Mohamed, a 40-year-old father of five, the cash assistance will enable him buy both food and medicine. “This afternoon I will walk with my sons to the market to buy wheat, sugar, oil and rice while my wife will go to the pharmacy to buy medicine for our new-born daughter,” he said.
Food prices in local markets, security and availability of financial services are some of the criteria WFP uses to determine the most suitable form of assistance in every geographical area; whether through food distributions, cash or vouchers.
WFP is implementing this innovative assistance tool in cooperation with the Yemeni Posts and Postal Services Corporation and the Ministry of Education in selected districts with developed financial services and local markets.
“When the right conditions are there such as the availability of food in the market and providers to disburse the cash, cash transfers is often more appropriate than simply handing out a food basket,” said WFP Representative and Country Director Bishow Parajuli. “This type of assistance introduces the element of choice and helps to stimulate local markets.”
In 2013, WFP aims to reach through its safety net programmes 3.9 million people in in 13 governorates.