Khartoum — The United Kingdom (UK) has contributed £4.5 million ($5.8 million) to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to provide essential food assistance to nearly 370,000 displaced people in Darfur for two months.
The contribution from the British Department for International Development (DFID) will allow WFP to support displaced people through cash-based transfers.
The beneficiaries will receive vouchers and e-cards so they can buy food and essential supplies of their choice at contracted local traders, WFP in Khartoum says in a press statement today.
"The UK Government is committed to working with WFP to meet the humanitarian needs of displaced people within Sudan," said Acting Head of DFID Sudan Kate Orrick.
"We have provided a total of £53.5 million to WFP since 2013, providing vital assistance to hundreds of thousands of people in Sudan and enabling them to start rebuilding their lives."
"The use of cash and vouchers enables greater choice and dignity for vulnerable Sudanese, stimulates the local economy, and has the greatest positive impact on those receiving our support," she added.
The UN food agency will use the contribution to support 288,000 displaced in North and West Darfur and nearly 81,000 residents of the Otash camp in South Darfur.
"We are grateful to the people and Government of the UK for this contribution towards our cash programmes, which is a more efficient form of assistance and allows for greater autonomy and dignity while providing a lifeline to those most in need," said WFP Sudan Representative and Country Director Matthew Hollingworth.
With UK support, the WFP successfully launched the first cash programme in Sudan in Otash camp in South Darfur last year.
During the pilot phase of the cash transfer programme (October 2016 to March 2017), nearly 75,000 people in Otash camp received approximately $37.50 per person for five months. The assistance was provided through a prepaid card swiped against a Point of Service device at pre-selected shops.
In Sudan, the introduction of vouchers in 2009, and cash assistance in 2016 continues to transform the relationship between vulnerable displaced people and their food needs. Cash-based assistance provides people with greater choice of food items and access to locally-preferred ingredients, while stimulating the local economy and supporting WFP's needs-based approach in a protracted crisis.
During the past six years, the UN food agency in Sudan has expanded the use of cash over regular food distributions. Evidence gathered through ongoing monitoring and feedback from people receiving WFP support shows that cash-based transfers are generally the preferred form of assistance.
Throughout 2017, WFP plans to support more than four million vulnerable people in Sudan, including displaced people, refugees, people affected by climate change, and host communities.
WFP provides such support through a range of activities, including emergency food assistance, cash-based transfers (or vouchers), nutritional support, and resilience-building activities to help communities become increasingly independent.