- Title: Mobile money transfers give refugees in Cameroon choices for their diet.
- Date: 6th July 2017
- Summary: VARIOUS OF ABA'A MAKING MOBILE PAYMENT
- Embargoed: 20th July 2017 14:33
- Keywords: Cash Based Transfer refugees mobile money food aid Central African Republic
- Location: TIMANGOLO AND MBILÃ‰, CAMEROON
- City: TIMANGOLO AND MBILÃ‰, CAMEROON
- Country: Cameroon
- Topics: Government/Politics,International Trade
- Reuters ID: LVA0026OKY9G7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Abdoulaye Amina lives in Timangolo, a Cameroonian village located about 35 kilometers from the border with Central African Republic (CAR).
She is a refugee from CAR and is one of over 270,000 others who've fled unrest, violence and civil war since the early 2000s.
Most refugees arrived in the country after sectarian violence erupted in 2013 when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, triggering revenge attacks by Christian militias.
The violence has reduced since an election in 2016 but fighting remains frequent.
Twenty one-year-old Amina is meeting aid officials from the World Food Programme (WFP) to sign up for a newly introduced Cash Based Transfer (CBT) program.
WFP introduced mobile-phone based cash assistance for the first time in Cameroon last year, to replace monthly food rations, and allow displaced Cameroonian families buy food for themselves.
It is not only a means of providing food for the family, but also an opportunity to engage in income generating activities.
Nancy Aba'a is a field agent at WFP.
"We also help them order food, choose food. Then, we calculate the amount of the order and we transfer the money to the seller's account," she said.
Each household receives a mobile phone and a SIM card from the agency giving them access to an electronic portfolio that gets topped up with monthly allowances to buy foodstuffs from selected retailers.
The size of the family, determines the amount of money they get. Refugees can spend the money all at once or shop over time.
Around one third of Central African refugees live in camps, with the majority residing in communities spread across hundreds of villages in eastern Cameroon.
The program is running in different parts of the country.
Amina says she will prepare a meal of grains and meat today for her family.
"I'm happy because I can now eat what I like and not what they give me. With the money in my telephone, I can buy spaghetti, milk, sardines. It's a good thing. I can even buy meat," she said.
"I'm happy with the programme here. They gave people phones. Every month WFP transfers money and beneficiaries come and buy food from my shop. We are all happy," said Abdouraman Sali, a groceries trader.
About 80,000 Central Africans have already been registered on the cash based transfer system.
The traditional food distribution programme continues in some centres in the meantime as a shift to the cash based transfer system happens gradually.
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