Selected refugees at Nyarugusu Refugee Camp in western Tanzania have received a cash transfer from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), replacing part of their monthly food rations. These refugees now receiving cash in addition to food are part of a three-month pilot programme covering 10,000 refugees. The cash component is being funded by Canada through a CAD 500,000 (US$385,000) contribution to WFP.
WFP will provide TSh 10,000 (US$4.50) twice monthly to each member of households participating in the cash pilot. Cash is delivered in the form of mobile money. For the duration of the new programme, refugees will continue receiving fortified vegetable oil and porridge blend while rations of maize meal, pulses and salt are replaced with cash.
Providing cash allows refugees freedom of choice in what to purchase while also injecting money into the local economy. The Nyarugusu Common Market, which opened this year in the buffer zone between the camp and host community, provides traders a space to sell their produce to refugees.
Canada is pleased to support WFP's refugee operation in Tanzania, said Ian Myles, High Commissioner of Canada. Combining both food and cash assistance gives women and men greater flexibility in meeting their needs and can also have a positive impact on the host community.
More than a quarter of a million refugees are hosted in Tanzania in three camps in the northwest part of the country. The refugees, primarily from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are dependent on WFP assistance as their main source of food.
Before the launch of the cash programme, refugees were receiving only food assistance from WFP. Implemented in close collaboration with the Government of Tanzania, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and partners, the programme is assisting some of the most vulnerable refugee households in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp.
Providing cash to refugees empowers them to make their own decisions on what food to buy and cook in their homes, said Michael Dunford, WFP Tanzania Country Representative. Cash gives refugees the opportunity to access a wide variety of fresh foods, helping them to diversify their diet.
WFP aims to increase the number of refugees receiving cash in lieu of food assistance throughout 2017.
Since the start of unrest in Burundi in April 2015, almost 190,000 Burundians have sought refuge in Tanzania. Combined with the existing caseload of refugees, primarily from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania now hosts more than a quarter of a million refugees. Hundreds of refugees continue to arrive every day from Burundi. WFP requires some US$6 million per month to continue assisting the growing refugee population in 2017.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
Source: World Food Programme