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Mauritania: Training requirement gives cash assistance a long-term impact

Cash assistance to the most vulnerable

WFP’s activities aim to support vulnerable populations affected by recurrent food crises in Mauritania, while also supporting the Government to develop and transition towards a longer-term resilience strategy. WFP Country Director a.i Christine van Nieuwenhuyse conducted a field visit to officially launch the Cash for Training activities.

Aid for the most vulnerable

The World Food Programme is supporting the most vulnerable rural populations in the regions of Assaba, Brakna, Gorgol and Guidimakha through its cash assistance programming. The total number of beneficiaries for these four regions is 67 500 persons (13 500 households). The beneficiary households have been selected through a participative process implemented by WFP in close cooperation with the government, local NGOs, and with the target population itself.

Field Visit by the WFP Country Director

WFP Country Director Christine van Nieuwenhuyse receives a warm welcome by the residents of the selected villages prior to the launch of the cash assistance distribution. During her visit at the end of August, she delivered the first cash assistance in three rural villages and had the opportunity to attend meetings with government authorities, partners and beneficiaries.

Identifying the most vulnerable

WFP and its partners undertake a systematic verification of selected households. In selecting the most vulnerable households to benefit from cash assistance, WFP has developed an approach that brings communities into the heart of the selection process, made possible by WFP’s implementing partners and their deep knowledge of the local context.

The operation is launched

WFP Country Director Christine van Nieuwenhuyse delivers the first cash assistance to a beneficiary. Each beneficiary household receives 20 000 MRO (US$68) each month for three months during the lean season that precedes the next harvest. The money received will support communities to rebuild livelihoods, enhance food production, protect livestock and cope with future shocks.

Community participation

The Country Director and members of her WFP team attend meetings with beneficiaries in order to better understand their needs.

Beneficiaries generally express a preference for cash assistance rather than food as it provides them with more flexibility to meet their particular needs. Those who benefited from previous distributions confirmed its positive impact on their ability to resist the shocks to their livelihoods.

A collaborative process

Like all WFP activities, this cash distribution was the product of collaboration between WFP, the Mauritanian government, implementing partners, and international donors.

Conditionality of cash assistance

Prior to receiving any cash, heads of selected beneficiary households must attend training sessions on different themes such as health, hygiene and nutrition. These trainings are designed to promote better family practices that can play a crucial role in reducing malnutrition and illness, and their dependence on assistance in the future.

Country Director van Nieuwenhuyse visits a village grain reserve

Supported by WFP, these reserves sell wheat and rice to villagers at subsidized prices during the lean season when food insecurity is at its peak and market prices are high. The funds generated by sales are used to replenish stocks when prices drop post-harvest or are reinvested in community initiatives.

Inspecting the field

The Country Director visits some community agricultural projects. According to the latest results of WFP’s Food Security Monitoring System, an estimated 800,000 Mauritanians are living in food insecurity. The regions in the south and south-west are the most affected, with rates of food insecurity exceeding 30 percent.

Regardless of food insecurity, village children can never resist a camera!

WFP is committed to ensuring that beneficiaries like these young residents of one of the most vulnerable villages have the opportunity to develop to their full potential free from the risk of hunger.