ECHO And WFP Provide Food Vouchers To Syrian Refugees In Jordan
More than 2 million people have fled Syria since the conflict began. WFP is assisting around half a million refugees in Jordan, including 80,000 in the Zaatari refugee camp, just 10 km from the border with Syria.
In September, an ECHO representative visited the camp where, thanks to contributions from ECHO and other donors, WFP has introduced food vouchers in addition to traditional food rations of staples like bulgur, rice and lentils.
A WFP staffer explains how refugees receive their vouchers. In October alone, WFP provided almost 390,000 beneficiaries in Jordan with food vouchers.
In the distribution centre at Zaatari camp, Save the Children manages all food and voucher distributions on behalf of WFP. Each refugee here receives a voucher worth 12 Jordanian Dinars per month.
Considerable planning and administration is needed to ensure that such a large-scale voucher programme runs smoothly. A WFP staffer explains the process to his ECHO counterpart.
Picking up the vouchers: each refugee receives the equivalent of 12 Jordanian Dinars per month - almost €13. WFP is gradually increasing the value of the vouchers so that eventually, refugees in the camp will be assisted entirely through vouchers.
Refugees can now buy fresh food such as eggs, dairy and meat with the vouchers which give them freedom to choose the food items they prefer - as well as a sense of normality.
Refugees and Jordanians who run the bustling shops welcome the vouchers. In Jordan alone, WFP’s voucher programme has injected more than €80 million (US$110 million) into the local economy – and over €193 million (US$265 million) into the neighbouring economies.
WFP’s most costly and challenging operation to assist Syrians affected by the conflict has received further crucial funding from the European Union. A contribution of €61 million brings the EU’s total support in 2013 to WFP to more than €100 million (US$137.4 million). A team from the European Commission (ECHO) recently visited Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, where WFP is distributing food assistance in the form of both vouchers and food parcels: