March 16th, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) began distributing food vouchers to assist close to 120,000 people living in Sana’a city with plans to reach one million people across Yemen in this way by the end of 2016.
The voucher scheme will speed up the delivery of food assistance in Yemen, enabling WFP to reach vulnerable people faster through a local retailer who will supply food commodities to families in exchange for WFP vouchers. This new form of assistance will also help revive commercial activities and markets in Yemen.
Each voucher provides a family of six with a one-month supply of wheat grain, pulses, vegetable oil, salt and sugar as well as Wheat Soya Blend (WSB) – a protein-rich blended food provided by WFP through the local supplier.
“Food vouchers ensure the rapid and regular delivery of assistance across Yemen to families who rely almost entirely on external assistance to secure their essential food needs. WFP Vouchers also boost the local economy as we work with local suppliers to provide food to vulnerable people,” said WFP Representative and Country Director in Yemen Purnima Kashyap. “We thank the UK Government for funding this new programme.”
The UK government contributed through UK Aid £5.9 million (US$8.6 million) to fund the programme.
Oum Ahmed told WFP she escaped Sa’ada eight months ago after her neighbourhood was destroyed by airstrikes and moved to Sana’a city with her family. “I clean people’s homes to be able to feed my children,” she said. “I was very happy when they gave me this voucher with my name on it.”
WFP will gradually replace conventional food distributions with voucher assistance in areas where markets are functioning. By the end of 2016, WFP aims to reach one million with food vouchers.