UNHCR and the World Food Programme (WFP) have developed a new solution to support Syrian refugees living in Lebanese camps by giving them Money in physical form such as banknotes and coins. More cards rather than aid-in-kind. The purpose of the cards is to offer refugees greater freedom of choice according to their needs and consequently restoring their dignity. This project, as a consequence, has also solved the issue of public disturbances caused by frequent food distributions.
Refugees are given two cash cards: one from the WFP loaded with $27 per month to buy food, and another from UNHCR with $170 to buy whatever they want, especially clothes. Cardholders receive a notification when the card is refilled and may simply retrieve the cash at the nearest ATM.
Such cash cards are not something completely new. Indeed, cash was already handed off during Indian famines in the 19th century, as well as in Asia after 2004 tsunami. This solution proved to be 18% cheaper for the organizations and refugees reported to feel more valued and to have found some of their freedom back.
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