Conflict-affected rural families in Iraq to...
“The use of mobile technology will streamline the safe delivery of cash transfers to participants, who are some of the most vulnerable people in the country,” said Fadel El-Zubi, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Representative in Iraq.
Participants, who are from households with no other income source, include women – often the sole breadwinners for their families – and people with a disability. The workers and their families are people who either remained in their villages during conflict or returned home after being displaced by the fighting.
The programme, which is funded by the Belgian Government, will support 12,000 conflict-affected people in 30 villages in Kirkuk, Anbar, Salah al-Din and Ninewa governorates. It will benefit local farmers by enabling them to restart or expand farming activities with rehabilitated infrastructure and provides agricultural livelihoods opportunities for displaced people returning home.
The nuts and bolts
To facilitate payments, FAO has partnered with Zain, a mobile and data services operator with a commercial footprint in eight Middle Eastern and African countries.
Participant names and identity numbers are pre-registered with the company, and they receive a free SIM card. Once each person completes a certain number of days of work, they receive a text message containing a personalised security code. They can then collect their wages from any certified money mobile transfer agent, provided their code and identity number match those registered.
Around 12 million Iraqis reside in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Years of conflict have destroyed or damaged harvests, equipment, infrastructure, livestock, seeds, crops and stored food – and left 3.2 million Iraqis food insecure.
As of 15 July, more than 3.3 million people remained displaced within Iraq, while about 2 million had returned home.
Support needed for scaled-up efforts
While the FAO cash-for-work programme encourages displaced people to return home, a major effort is needed to rehabilitate critical infrastructure so that agricultural production can resume and livelihoods can be restored.
In coordination with the Iraqi government, FAO's work supports returning and internally displaced families, host communities and Syrian refugees.
This is a summary of the news: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57296#.WYddM1FdI1k