Paluku Mweyibwa, 46, is among the first beneficiaries of the cash transfer programme implemented by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Food Programme (WFP) to respond to the basic needs of 92,000 conflict affected vulnerable people in Lubero and Rutshuru territories in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“Today, my children will eat well. I am very happy with this initiative and I would like to say thank you to all the organizations who have helped us,” said Palaku, who has just received US$185 to respond to his family needs.
Paluku plans to use part of this money to pay off the debt he ran up buying school uniforms for his two children. His wife is considering developing a small business of manufactured goods.
Despite the hope brought about by the cash transfer programme, the displaced father still remembers the precise moment his life turned upside down. It was in the morning in July 2016, around 11am. His children were playing outside while he was busy running his business in the shop.
“Suddenly, I heard gunshots all around and the village turned into a vast field of smoke,” said Palaku. “We had no choice but to flee, leaving everything behind in the hands of the assailants”
Following this attack carried out by a self-defense Mai-Mai group, Palaku and his family sought refuge in the town of Kanyabayonga, around 150 km north-west of Goma, North Kivu’s provincial capital (eastern DRC). Like Paluku, almost 20,000 families from Bwito district (Rutshuru territory) were forced to flee their villages between January and August 2016 following intercommunity conflicts and acts of violence committed by armed groups. They were taken in by relatives, friends and acquaintances who have been helping them with food and accommodation.
Supporting self relience for vulnerable communities
In an effort to strengthen the resilience of the displaced people and their host families, UNICEF, WFP and their NGO partners including Mercy Corps, Diakonie and the Support Programme for the Development of Forest Populations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (PAP RDC) organized a cash transfer programme between 26 October and 15 November 2016 to respond to the basic needs of vulnerable families.
Each of the 12,800 targeted families received between US$ 92 and US$185, depending on the number of people in the family, in order to buy food, essential household items, water and soap.
Unite to improve the lives of women and children
Implemented as part of UNICEF’s Alternative Response for Communities in Crisis Programme (ARCC), the joint WFP/UNICEF cash transfer programme was funded by the British Government (UKaid), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the European Union and Japan. It aims to provide a holistic and coherent response that is likely to improve living conditions for the displaced people and the families who have welcomed them.
We would like to thank the whole world for having responded to our suffering.
Thanks to your intervention, our displaced brothers and the families who have taken them in will now be able to meet their food needs, have access to drinking water and improve their living conditions,” said Kambale Kibeho Obedi, Administrative Secretary for the Kanyabayonga commune.
Cash transfer programme improves access to basic social services
Considered to be the largest humanitarian cash transfer intervention ever carried out in eastern DRC, this assistance has contributed to improving households’ food security and access to basic social services in the targeted community. According to a post intervention monitoring report, 82% of beneficiary households are now able to buy food of sufficient quality and quantity for their consumption while school attendance has increased by 33% amongst school-aged children.