Voucher Assistance In Palestine, More Than Food

In Palestine, many families are unable to buy healthy foods due to their high prices. To help families afford the food they need, WFP provides families with vouchers they can exchange for a variety of food staples in WFP-participating shops. This includes fresh produce and dairy products. In 2009, WFP used the voucher system for the first time in the Middle East in Palestine. Since then, vouchers have been used in a number of different countries around the region providing food assistance to hundreds of thousands of people and boosting local economies at the same time.

Samar, 27, lives with her husband and their four children in a small, basic flat in Gaza's al-Tufah neighbourhood. The 2014 conflict worsened an already difficult situation in the impoverished strip and Samar's family, like many other families, had been trying to make ends meet long before the conflict started. Her husband has been unemployed since the start of the blockade in 2007, not unusual in Gaza that has an unemployment rate of more than 41 percent.

WFP/ Eyad al Baba

On her way back from the local shop where she has used her e-card to do some food shopping, Samar remembers how she never left the house for anything else other than home chores.

WFP is using voucher assistance to promote a healthy and more balanced diet. To increase the impact of vouchers on dietary diversity, mothers like Samar attend nutrition awareness sessions organized by WFP. 

WFP/ Eyad al Baba

 “I had been trying to convince my husband for years that I needed to get out of the house for something other than family errands,” she said. “Attending WFP's sessions was the first time I was able to break away from my daily routine and meet new people with similar interests.”

Samar says the six months of nutrition awareness sessions taught her about healthy diets, cooking, buying healthy ingredients using the vouchers and even caring for children.

WFP/ Eyad al Baba

"I learnt how to make traditional dishes healthier with only a few simple changes. When I came home from the sessions and shared what I learnt, I felt proud of myself," she says. 

WFP provides families with 60 percent of their daily caloric needs. Each month, WFP assists more than 180,000 people through e-vouchers.