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 Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years 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.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs