14-07-2020 | di COOPI
Covid-19. North Darfur, e-voucher to guarantee food security
In Sudan, Covid-19 pandemic is threatening health, food security and nutrition security. As of the 24th of June 2020, confirmed covid-19 cases were 9,275, including 572 fatalities. All the preventive measures adopted by the government (border closures, restriction of gatherings, closure of non-essential business etc.) helped reducing the spread of the virus, but also exacerbated Sudan’s long-standing macroeconomic crisis.
In the framework of the project “Food for Asset and Productive Safety Net program in North Darfur” funded by the World Food Program, COOPI distributed e-vouchers to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Saraf Omra, one of the regions where food insecurity was already an issue before the outbreak of Covid-19. 1,422 IDPs’ households (a total of 5,688 persons, of which 75% are women) received each 7,200 Sudanese pounds (equivalent of 116 EUR) to meet their basic food needs in the following months (June and July). Also, 12 traders earned an average of 1,575,292 SDG an equivalent of 25,398 EUR.
Halima Hassan Basher, a 45 years old mum, was already struggling to feed her family before the emergency due to foods’ high prices. As the lockdown prevented her doing casual work in town, the e-vouchers she received will timely help her to buy food and save more money.
Leila Mohamed Hamid, 45 years old IDP and mother of a family of ten, is a beneficiary of the project as well. She used to pay the house rent, schools fees (including university’s fees for one of her children) and the land’s rent. Due to the emergency she stopped her activities. She says: “Thanks to e-vouchers we bought food and we can focus on other livelihoods activities”.
Interviewing a beneficiary
Aida Mohieldin Suliman, 21 years old, explains that her husband’s business was affected by the lockdown. Thus, e-vouchers were helpful in buying food and supporting her family during these hard times.
E-vouchers are an effective tool for families since they assure food security and they also enable them to focus on other livelihoods. In addition, timely food assistance is fundamental for local economy as well. Indeed, improving liquidity means allowing families to buy food directly from the local traders strengthening their potentials. Also, buying locally means a cut down of the costs of transportation, storage and food management which is hard to implement during these days due to the impacts of Covid19.
The pandemic emergency highly affects Sudanese communities. The restrictions adopted resulted into significant decreases in income-earning opportunities, particularly for poor households who spend 75% of their income on food. Besides, there is a continuous reduction in the value of the Sudanese Pound, increasing prices for fuel, food and unexpected medical costs. COOPI is acting in frontline supporting IDPs and vulnerable communities assuring food security.