News / Middle East

Vulnerable Benefit From Cash-For-Work Program in Iraq

A refugee woman originally from the western Iraqi desert region, packs away pots and pans in her tent home several kilometers from the southern holy city of Karbala, some 110 kms from Baghdad (2009 file photo)
A refugee woman originally from the western Iraqi desert region, packs away pots and pans in her tent home several kilometers from the southern holy city of Karbala, some 110 kms from Baghdad (2009 file photo)

The World Food Program is employing more than 11,000 of the most vulnerable people in Iraq in a cash-for-work program aimed at helping them get enough food to eat.  This is an expansion of a pilot scheme WFP started in the Diyala and Baghdad governorates earlier this year.  

More than seven years after U.S. forces invaded Iraq, many people are still going hungry.  A 2008 survey finds almost one million people in the country are short of food.  And, a further 6.4 million people would be at risk of food insecurity without assistance from the Public Distribution System.  

It is this grim reality that prompted the World Food Program to begin its cash-for-work program earlier this year in some of the areas most affected by violence and insecurity.

WFP spokeswoman, Emilia Casella, says the program is targeting more than 11,000 of the most vulnerable people, including internally displaced people and returnees.

She says participants are paid the Iraqi dinar equivalent of $10 a day for a three-month period.  Supervisors, she says are paid $13 a day.

"This pay rate is slightly under what the average daily wage is in these communities and that is because we want to make sure that these are jobs that are done or obtained by the very most vulnerable people who might be shut out of the labor force in other ways because they are displaced people, people who may have just newly returned to their communities.  So, it is not a high wage, but it is a wage aimed at getting to heads of households who may be otherwise completely unemployed," said Casella.  

The scheme provides beneficiaries with short-term employment in agricultural infrastructure projects.

WFP says the scheme works well in a country such as Iraq where food is available in the markets, but people cannot afford to buy it.

Casella says the communities themselves select the cash-for-work activities, according to their priorities. "Some of the work that they are doing is tree planting.  Some is clearing irrigation canals, rehabilitating farmland, improving sanitation and also improving or rehabilitating sewage systems, many of which have been either destroyed or degraded over years, including by the conflict," she said.  

While cash-for-work helps the immediate family of the worker, Casella says the scheme also helps to support the local economy.  She says unlike operations that distribute food directly to the needy, those who are part of cash-for-work can spend their money for food or other necessities in the local market.  

She says a $5 million grant from the United State government has allowed it to expand the program.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid