The United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID) donated an additional £8 million in the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to support the Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar.
This new contribution will support the WFP to provide 270,600 refugees with life-saving assistance over three months through electronic vouchers. This programme allows refugees to purchase a variety of food items from 25 WFP e-voucher outlets across the Rohingya refugee camps, a WFP press relese said.
Rohingya families living in the camps receive an allocation of monthly $9 (BDT 770) per person to spend at the e-voucher outlets. The money is loaded onto a prepaid WFP Assistance Card which families use to purchase food items such as fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, chicken, eggs, spices, and other staples.
The e-voucher outlets are run by local traders, providing economic opportunities to the host community.
"DFID's contribution allows us to provide immediate food assistance through e-vouchers," said WFP Representative and Country Director Richard Ragan.
"E-vouchers create market linkages with the host community. Most food items provided in WFP shops are procured in Bangladesh, with fresh items procured locally in Cox's Bazar district. The WFP aims to register all refugees to e-vouchers by mid-2020."
As of September 2019, WFP had been providing food assistance to over 842,100 refugees per month, half of whom received food through e-vouchers and the other half received in-kind food distributions of rice, lentils, and oil. With support from DFID, WFP has also piloted a Farmers Market for families currently receiving in-kind assistance. Through the markets, refugees can access fresh produce, meat and fish to improve their nutritional diets.
The Department for International Development (DFID) has been a generous supporter of WFP activities in Cox's Bazar. DFID previously supported WFP with a contribution of 11.3 million GBP in 2017, 17 million GBP in 2018, and 20.4 million GBP in 2019.