Djibouti: How cash is improving the nutrition of urban families
WFP supports vulnerable urban families affected by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
By Lina Mustapha
Globally, COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on the food insecurity of urban populations. In Eastern Africa, 58 percent of the urban population lives in informal settlements where more than 25 million people live hand-to-mouth and rely on informal day-to-day employment. Millions of them have lost their jobs due to the economic ripple effects of the pandemic.
The East African country of Djibouti is one of the smallest on the continent. Only one percent of the country’s desert-like land is arable which makes it especially vulnerable to the impact of market shocks, and almost entirely dependent on imports to feed a population of one million people.
It is not only the economic effects of COVID-19 that have reduced people’s purchasing power and negatively impacted food security but also poverty, high unemployment, climate shocks such as drought and floods and destruction to crops caused by desert locusts.
In response, the World Food Programme (WFP) in partnership with Djibouti’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Solidarity (MASS) has supported 1,200 urban families with monthly cash transfers in a bid to improve the nutrition of vulnerable people who live in the most food insecure regions of Djibouti.
Each family received 10,000 Djiboutian Francs (US$56) monthly (for a period of six months) via an electronic card known as SCOPE — enabling them to improve their nutrition by using the card to buy food from selected retailers.
“I used the SCOPE card to buy basic foods for my family such as wheat flour, pulses, vegetable oil, sugar and salt,“ says Fatouma, an unemployed mother of five who lives in the coastal town of Obock in northern Djibouti.
Vulnerable people are identified by MASS and their details are entered into WFP’s beneficiary and transfer management platform known as SCOPE. The SCOPE cards ensure vulnerable people can access nutritious foods and provides valuable data about the types of foods purchased which enables WFP to adapt and improve its programmes according to the needs of those we serve.
WFP’s support for vulnerable people affected by the economic impact of COVID-19 in Djibouti was possible thanks to generous support from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA).