Why cash schemes are popular in Sahel hunger response

February 28, 2012

Many aid groups responding to a looming hunger crisis in West Africa have made cash-for-work schemes a key part of their effort to help people threatened by severe food shortages.

These initiatives involve paying people for community tasks with money or vouchers that can be exchanged for food in local stores.

More than 11 million people face a food crisis in the Sahel region south of the Sahara as a result of bad harvests from drought and erratic rainfall as well as high prices for staples, the United Nations says.

Claude Jibidar, deputy regional director of the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) in West Africa, and Julien Jacob, head of food security and livelihoods programmes at Action Against Hunger (ACF), explain to AlertNet why cash initiatives are common in the Sahel this year.