Sudan: Cash gives displaced people in Darfur a chance to help their families
“Being displaced has forced us to live without a source of income. Cash assistance helps me to buy food and keeps my children in school.”
By Pratibedan Baidya
It’s almost 20 years since conflict forced Zohra to flee her home and seek refuge in a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) on the outskirts of Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state in western Sudan.
There are 3 million IDPs in Sudan, about 2.5 million of them are in the Darfur region — displaced because of intercommunal violence which began in 2003.
A widowed mother of nine, Zohra is one of 1.4 million people supported with cash assistance by The World Food Programme (WFP) in Sudan.
Cash assistance gives people the ability to respond to their biggest needs and at the same time invest in more sustainable solutions that in the long run will enable them to feed themselves. This also helps to boost local economies by providing employment and empowers people by reducing their dependency on food assistance.
Zohra uses her cash assistance to buy food and to pay for her children’s education.
Cash transfers also stimulate local markets and provides business opportunities for entrepreneurs like Ahmad. Displaced multiple times by the violence in Darfur, Ahmad and his family now live in Morni camp for internally displaced people in West Darfur where he works as a tailor.
Once a recipient of WFP’s food assistance, Ahmad initially struggled to find clients for his business. But that changed in 2016 when people living in the camp began receiving cash assistance from WFP and others. This meant more customers with greater choices of how to spend their money. Today, his business is growing, and Ahmad and his family are no longer reliant on assistance.
“Cash assistance is good as it benefits the local community and supports local businesses,” says Ahmad. “In the past people had to sell their goods if they needed money.”
Generous contributions from the governments of Canada, the European Union, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America enabled WFP to distribute US$55.7 million in cash assistance to support 1.4 million vulnerable people in 2021. WFP plans to support even more vulnerable people with cash assistance in 2022 and requires US$81 million to support 2 million people until December.