News / Africa

Some Aid Programs in Sahel Prefer Cash to Food

Some Aid Programs in Sahel Prefer Cash to Foodi
X
June 18, 2013 7:39 PM
Humanitarian agencies in Africa's Sahel region are struggling to deal with a cycle of chronic food crisis. Some are moving away from traditional food aid in favor of "cash for work" programs that pay villagers to work on community improvement projects. The U.S. government is considering shifting as much as 45 percent of its $1.4 billion of traditional food aid in this direction. Nick Loomis has this report from the Diourbel region of Senegal, where one such program, funded by the USAID Food for Peace Initiative, has been underway for the past seven months.

Some Aid Programs in Sahel Prefer Cash to Food

Nick Loomis
— Humanitarian agencies in Africa's Sahel region are struggling to deal with a cycle of chronic food crisis. Some are moving away from traditional food aid in favor of "cash for work" programs that pay villagers to work on community improvement projects. The U.S. government is considering shifting as much as 45 percent of its $1.4 billion of traditional food aid in this direction. One such program, funded by the USAID Food for Peace Initiative, has been underway for the past seven months.

It's market day in the village of Sadio, but it is also payday for these 800 beneficiaries of Catholic Relief Service's "Yokkuté" program.  

Yokkuté means "resilience" in the local Wolof language. By paying participants to work on projects that improve village agriculture and sanitation, Yokkuté aims to get them back on their feet after years of poor harvests.  

CRS Program Coordinator Pape Saïd says cash is better than food for this vulnerable population.

"The people can buy the food they would like to have. But people in need have more needs than food alone, like healthcare. So with cash, they can buy food, but they can also address their other needs," said Saïd.

But there are disadvantages to cash as well.

Some beneficiaries like Gass Kane prefer getting food or vouchers so relatives can't spend her earnings on non-essentials.

"We prefer the food because it's useful for the whole family," she said.

CRS does not force them to buy food with the money, but they do encourage it by paying them on market day. They say 87 percent is spent the same day on food. Local shop owners like Waly Faye can see the difference in their sales.

"This program supports the merchants. Before, it was only between the aid organization and the beneficiary. So with the Yokkuté program, they have brought in the small shop owners. So instead of two players, now it's three," said Faye.

Local farmers benefit too, as they can sell their produce and grain without having to compete with food imported from abroad.  CRS' Pape Saïd says the work that beneficiaries are doing will actually improve crop yields, even when there is little rain.

"In these half-moons, we are correcting the soil, which is mostly sand. So to increase the water retention, we add manure and compost. Good fertilization could double, triple or quadruple the harvests," said Pape.

Faty Niang appreciates the help in the meantime. She went into debt over the past few years trying to feed eight people, including her 104-year-old husband.

"We used to buy food and medicine with what we had, but now we use the program money for that and now we can save what we had before," said Niang.

She earned $72 for her work in village sanitation this month. Having already repaid her debts, she spent it all on 2 sacks of rice, 40 kilos of grain, 4 liters of cooking oil, 5 kilos of peanuts, 5 kilos of corn, and a bag of mixed vegetables.

She and her family are happy to be part of the program.

Aid groups are watching to see whether USAID will be funding more projects like Yokkuté.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid