WFP Starts Voucher Assistance In Darfur’s Largest IDP Camp

Huwa, a displaced mother of three, is now able to “shop” for her food inside Darfur’s largest camp for internally displaced people. After seven years of receiving traditional food rations of cereals and chickpeas, she is now able to exchange her voucher for fresh produce as well as food that cater to the community’s taste like dried okra and dried tomatoes.

El Fasher, NORTH DARFUR - Life has changed in Zam Zam camp since WFP launched its food voucher programme in January this year. For the first time in years, tens of thousands of displaced Sudanese in North Darfur’s capital El Fasher are now able to choose their food from 14 items on offer under the voucher programme.

Zam Zam camp is Darfur’s largest camp for internally displaced people. Located some 14 km south of the North Darfur capital of El Fasher, the camp is currently hosting over 117,500 displaced people from North, South and West Darfur.

Each family member is entitled to one voucher per month at a value of 38 Sudanese Pounds (approximately US$6.4). Huwa Hussein Adam, 30, and her family are among them; they receive five vouchers with a total value of 190 Sudanese Pounds (US$31.8).

“This is really much more than what I expected,” said Huwa. “My husband does not make much money so I rarely go to the market to shop for food. I am sure my children will be happy with the dish I am going to prepare,” she said as she picked her family’s favourite food items at the camp shops.

Huwa, her husband and their three young children have been living in the camp for the last seven years. And in all those years, they have been relying on the monthly food ration from WFP.  “We would not have survived without WFP food,” said Huwa.

To ensure availability of all the 14 food items that the programme offers, WFP contracted 45 traders to set up mobile shops at a designated spot inside Zam Zam. A Price Monitoring Committee meets each month to determine the prices of food to be sold based on prevailing market prices.

The introduction of a voucher programme in Zam Zam camp took several months of meticulous and careful planning. “We carried out several consultations with traditional leaders; the sheiks and umdas, and with our implementing partner the German Agro Action (GAA); an international NGO which has an extensive experience working here in Darfur,” said WFP Head of Programme in North Darfur Sub-Office Mohamed Ali.

Some 24 GAA staff members were deployed to the camp to manage and supervise the distribution of vouchers. In addition GAA rehabilitated the holding area and the toilets near the distribution site.

Thanks to generous contributions from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO), WFP is providing voucher assistance to 400,000 vulnerable and food-insecure people across North Darfur.