By Jacques David
More than 90,000 vulnerable people were assisted through cash transfers in Kanyabayonga, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in November 2016. The World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in partnership with Mercy Corps, Diakonie and Programme d’Appui au Développement (PAP) carried out this operation to meet the needs of people displaced because of armed conflict in Lubero and Rutshuru territories, eastern DRC. "Given the scale of the needs, it was necessary for WFP and UNICEF work together to provide a coherent response to try and improve the living conditions of the displaced persons, especially those of women and children who are most vulnerable," said Philippe Martou, WFP Head of Office in North Kivu.
Experience has shown that when households receive the money directly in their hands, they really appreciate the ability to choose their purchases according to their priorities.
Kavira (23) a mother of six, explains that she had to seek refuge in Kanyabayonga because of communal violence in her home village in Nyanzale. She fled almost empty-handed and is now living with members of her extended family in Kanyabayonga. The latter welcomed her in their small and deteriorate house made of clay and wood in October 2016. "Receiving the money was a blessing because now I can buy food, kitchen utensils and new clothes for my children," she says. “And at least I now have something to share with my relatives.”
Each of the 12,800 households assisted received a sum of US$92-$185, depending on the number of persons in the family unit. With this money, they were able to meet food needs as well as buy essential household items such as soap and other toiletries. "Winning the fight against hunger requires flexibility and innovation,” says Philippe Martou. “Cash transfers have many benefits. Not only do they allow vulnerable families to buy the food of their choice. They also help the local economy. Finally for WFP, this type of assistance eliminates storage and transportation costs associated with the traditional food distributions. This way of doing things makes sense for everyone.”
Through this joint intervention, the participating organizations have undertaken the largest money transfer operation - both in terms of the sums mobilized and the number of beneficiaries reached - that they’ve ever done in the DRC.