Terre des hommes (Iraq)

08.06.2017 - News

Cash assistance for families in Iraq: deciding on their own

After more than two years of internal displacement, many displaced families in Iraq have been living on the brink of poverty and cannot meet their children’s basic needs. In order to increase the effectiveness of humanitarian aid on offer, Tdh teams are organising cash assistance programmes for the most vulnerable families living out of camps. Recent cash assistance distribution took place in the small town of Al-Sherqat, over 100 kilometres south of Mosul.

The town of Al-Sherqat has become home to thousands of displaced families coming from areas under ISIS control, such as the eastern part of Al-Sherqat Town, Mosul and Hawija. These families have been living out of camps in the western part of Al-Sherqat with limited ability to meet their children’s basic needs such as food, healthcare, education and shelter.

In order to increase levels of dignity and living conditions for the most vulnerable, the Tdh team distributed cash assistance to 1500 families in Al-Sherqat. “The cash distribution programme allows these families to access the market and buy basic items in line with their most urgent needs. It helps to prevent child labour and the increasing debts of the displaced population,” explains Bastien Morard, Cash Grant Programme Manager.

The distribution of kits, which is crucial in the camps where people cannot buy anything, has often proved to be ineffective out of camps. “Kits were not well adapted to the needs of some of the displaced population. In order to obtain immediate cash, displaced families sold them for below-cost price,” says Bastien. In places with an existing market, cash distribution helps both displaced people and local businesses.

35-year-old Zainab, a mother of three children, escaped ISIS-occupied Mosul and found refuge in one of the abandoned houses in the western part of Al-Sherqat. Zainab is a beneficiary of Tdh’s cash distribution. “Now, I can decide for myself what to buy for my children. I will buy mainly food and medicine for them, mattresses and blankets,” she says.

Cash distribution is based on a very careful vulnerability survey, which allows us to understand the living conditions of displaced families and to identify which ones are the most vulnerable. “We conducted a vulnerability survey on almost 4000 families in the area of Al-Sherqat. The distribution of cash depends on many factors such as composition of the household,  presence of disabilities and chronic diseases in the family, vulnerability of children, status of shelter or accessibility to safe water and sanitation,” explains Marc Séré de Rivières, head of our mission in Iraq.

Tdh teams have distributed over 2 million dollars in cash assistance in Iraq since 2015, reaching nearly 60,000 beneficiaries. “There is no doubt that cash assistance has a positive impact on the most vulnerable communities and we will try to continue with this kind of support in the months to come,” concludes Marc. 

Photo credit ©Tdh/Peter Käser