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WFP Burkina Faso Launches Cash Transfers for Malian Refugees

Pilot cash transfer programme

On 21 August, at the Saag-nioniogo site for Malian refugees, just outside of the capital Ouagadougou, WFP Burkina Faso pilots a cash transfer programme for refugees of 3,500 CFA (US$ 7) a month, per person in collaboration with UNHCR. In addition to the cash, refugees receive oil, salt, rice, beans and Supercereal, a fortified corn soya blend.

Receive food before cash

Refugees stand in line, with sacks and jerry cans, for their food. The distribution of cash takes place after the distribution of food. They are holding their registration papers to present at the entrance of the distribution hall.

Hadani Waled

10-year-old Hadani Waled waits for her brother to collect their food and cash rations. She came with her family from Mali to Burkina Faso when the Malian crisis began in February 2012. She is in her last year of primary school in Ouagadougou.

First cash transfers

A mother with her child just before she receives her cash. In total, over the two days, an estimated 2,800 refugees are to receive a total of US$ 20,000 in cash. These are the first cash transfers that WFP has provided to Malian refugees.

Made possible by ECHO

Soumaila Salama holds her money, standing in front of a banner with the logo of the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) whose funding made this activity possible. “This money will allow me to buy milk for my children and also, meat, vegetables and firewood,” said Soumaila, a mother of five.

Donkey carts

Outside of the distribution site, donkey carts belong to surrounding local populations are on standby to transport food the refugees have received back to their homes for a small fee.

Small businesses

Businesses have sprung up at the refugee site. Here, a refugee chops up a goat that is then sold in small plastic bags for a dollar each. Nothing goes to waste - the piece of offal near the corner of the table is for sale for US$ 3.

Young brothers

Young brothers stand in front of a goat that has been killed and its meat prepared for sale.

A more diverse diet

A refugee buys milk from a woman who has come from a nearby village. Customers can either drink the milk on the spot or have it transferred to a plastic bag. For many of the refugees, milk and meat are staple parts of their diet. Providing cash allows them to have a more diverse diet and one that better fits their cultural norms.

Injection of cash

Condiments for sale, including onions (both dried and fresh), aubergines, bouillon cubes, and small twists of spices, which cost just a few pennies. The transfers will inject cash into the local economy, improving both the lives of the refugees and inhabitants of the surrounding communities.

"Business is good"

Milk sellers sit with empty containers as their milk sold in just a few hours. “The refugees bought milk from us on credit and now we are waiting for them to get their money at the distribution and repay us. Business is good,” said Aissatou Diallo, seated on left.

To be expanded

Young Malian refugee boys look at the whiteboard announcing the changes in rations for refugees. The distribution at the Saag-nioniogo refugee site is the pilot phase of the cash transfers for refugees. The town of Bobo-Dioulasso and the two official refugee sites in the Sahel Region - Goudebou and Mentao - will soon be part of the cash transfer programme.

On 21 August, WFP Burkina Faso launched cash transfers for Malian refugees at the Saag-nioniogo refugee site, just outside of the capital Ouagadougou. The initiative is in the pilot phase and is planned to expand to the town of Bobo-Dioulasso and the two official sites in the Sahel Region - Goudebou and Mentao.