Cash-based food assistance for people affected by Boko Haram violence in Chad

Achta and her son were part of the first 1,000 displaced people who received cash-based food assistance provided by the World Food Programme in the Lake Chad region.

People in this region are suffering from the impact of Boko Haram attacks. Internally Displaced Persons (they are around 100,000 in the region) fled their villages leaving everything behind. They’ve been living in precarious shelters for the past several months.

Following this first distribution, WFP has reached more people in need at four other displacement sites with the same type of food assistance through cash. In July, a total of approximately 9,000 people received 6,000 CFA Francs for each of the registered member of their family.

Tchelou Moussa lives on a site, that can be reached in a one and a half hour drive on sandy and bumpy roads. She recently received a precious item: a registration card with the number three — for herself and her two children. Her husband is hundreds of kilometers away: he lives in Mao, Kanem, in the Sahelian belt of Chad, where he has been able to find some work. He sends her money from time to time but it is not enough to cover all their needs.

“Until now I only knew food distributions but thanks to this new way of getting help, I can go to the nearest market and choose what I want.” And Tchelou already knows what she would like to cook for her family, “a daraba sauce” (a nutritious ocra-based dish; she also wants to buy rice, maize, oil, sugar, and tea, and possibly some soap.

Not far from Tchelou’s shelter, Babagou Abdoulaye Tahir (picture above) is living with her kids. Her husband is registered with his second wife. When he manages to find work, he only earns CFAF 1,000 for a day of labor. Babagou welcomes the news of receiving cash-based assistance: “Thanks to the money I received I will be able to prepare different sorts of meals for my children and to choose from a range of spices. It will be more diversified and I think that this is a really nice, welcome change.”

On Yakoua’s site, Baba M’Ba (above) explains that the authorities asked the inhabitants to evacuate their village located on one of the hundreds little islands you can find all over the Lake Chad. They have been living in Yakoua since. “My husband used to be a fisherman; and we were growing peanuts. Here it’s much more complicated to be able to find ways to earn some money. I would like to go back to my village but it’s not possible because security is not guaranteed.” Meanwhile Baba M’Ba welcomes WFP’s move to cash-based assistance: “Who knows? I could even buy a chicken!”.

Food assistance through market-based mechanisms in the Lake region is made possible thanks to contributions by USAID, Canada and Germany.

Text & Photos : WFP/Nathalie Magnien.