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May 19, 10

NEWS / UN agency kicks off first cash-for-work initiative in Iraq

19 May 2010 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today launched a cash-for-work initiative to help poor Iraqis earn money to provide food for their families.

“While there’s food in the shops, not everyone can afford it and nearly a million people still need food assistance and millions more depend on government aid,” WFP Country Director Edward Kallon said.

“Cash-for-work projects are an innovative way to provide a much-needed influx of cash to poor communities who struggle to make ends meet and provide food for their families,” he added. “They are appropriate when food is readily available in the markets but out of their reach.”

Participants in the programme will be paid the equivalent of $10 per day for a three-month period for carrying out tasks such as clearing and rehabilitation of sewage and irrigation canals, tree planting, rehabilitation of farmland and a sanitation campaign.

While beneficiaries will initially be paid in cash on a weekly basis, WFP is exploring the possible use of electronic technology, such as smart cards, to facilitate payments and reduce security risks in future programmes.

Some 1,400 households will be involved in the pilot project which will be carried out in the central Iraqi governorate of Diyala with the help of WFP’s partner organization, Mercy Corps.

The cash-for-work project is part of the Diyala Initiative to provide assistance to facilitate the resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees and other vulnerable groups.

That effort is being led by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), with the participation of several other UN and partner agencies.




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