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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid