Senegal: Cash Through Phone Scheme Offers Hungry More Choice
In September, WFP launched a pilot mobile cash transfer programme in Senegal in partnership with Orange Mobile. Each month, nearly 60,000 food-insecure people receive cash via mobile phones or specialized credit cards in nine regions of Senegal. This innovative project allows people like Diariatou Ba (pictured) to buy food from local shops instead of relying on traditional food assistance. Individualized ID numbers are used to complete the transfer via phone when they arrive at the shop. Orange Mobile runs the distribution system and offers free phone credit to those who receive cash and to the retailers after each transfer.
Through this pilot, WFP distributes approximately 42,000 FCFA (US$ 84) to people in rural areas and 28,000 FCFA (US$ 56) to residents of urban areas each month. This allows people to buy food items like oil, rice, millet, salt, sugar, corn and cowpeas, as well as one non-food item, such as soap. Diariatou Ba has bought local palm oil and soap.
WFP's operational partner in the region, Red Cross Senegal, has representatives on hand to assist beneficiaries and shop owners and to make sure everything goes smoothly with the transfers. Mamadou, left, shows WFP Senegal Country Director Inge Breuer (right center) and local dignitaries how transfers work. Other operational partners include Africare and Caritas in Kaolack and Kolda and Action Sociale in Ziguinchor.
During a ceremony welcoming WFP and the delegation to Ouarkhokh village, this woman, who spoke on behalf of those receiving cash transfers, said the WFP pilot had given people more choice and a sense of dignity because they could now decide what food to buy, and where to buy it.
A shop owner told the gathering that the use of cash transfers spared recipients of WFP assistance from having to make a journey of up to 25 kilometres to collect food. His own business has also seen increased revenue.
A woman and boys from the local soccer team act out a skit explaining how assistance from WFP helps relieve the stress of finding enough food to eat. Nearly 13,000 people from 1,300 households in Ouarkhokh received cash through the pilot project since its launch in September.
WFP Senegal's Country Director Inge Breuer receives a certificate of thanks from the rural community of Ouarkhokh for WFP assistance delivered during the lean seasons of the last two years.
In September, WFP launched a pilot mobile cash transfer programme in Senegal in partnership with Orange Mobile. Each month, nearly 60,000 food-insecure people receive cash via their mobile phones or specialized credit cards in nine regions of Senegal. The people of Ouarkhokh, a village in the northwestern Louga region, have already benefited from this new form of assistance.