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Focusing on local suppliers, UN agency reaches thousands more in need of food aid

Written by Staff

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has recorded a nearly five-fold increase in the number to whom it has provided assistance in hard-to-reach areas across war-torn Yemen, through an innovative, locally driven voucher initiative.

This month, in the hard-to-reach Taiz governorate district of Al Qahira alone, the agency successfully provided 55,000 people with much-needed assistance through the innovative use of food vouchers using a local supplier’s network.

“Expanding our voucher assistance through a local supplier into Al Qahira is a major breakthrough that allows us to reach every person who needs our assistance,” said Purnima Kashyap, WFP Country Director in Yemen, in a news release issued by the agency today.

“This approach capitalizes on the presence of markets that are working in the areas where we use it, so as well as helping vulnerable families, it also gives a much-needed boost to the local market,” she added.

The increase has been made possible through the Commodity-Voucher through Traders’ Network (CV-TN) project that allows WFP to supply food commodities to families through a contracted local retailer in exchange for vouchers.

War-torn Taiz governorate district of Al Qahira, Yemen. Photo: WFP

War-torn Taiz governorate district of Al Qahira, Yemen. Photo: WFP

Since the launch of this way of delivering assistance earlier this year in Sana’a city, the project has expanded to other parts of Yemen including Aden and Taiz, enabling agency to reach more than 600,000 people compared to only 120,000 in February.

According to the agency, humanitarian organizations had been struggling for months to deliver assistance to conflict-affected people inside Taiz governorate, and despite joint efforts and extensive negotiations, reaching the people in need had been unpredictable and difficult to guarantee.

Furthermore, when access was made available, the number of people that could be reached was limited due to a short window of opportunity.