The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations has launched a cash-for-work programme aimed at rehabilitating agricultural infrastructure and land which will be powered by mobile payments.
It is hoped that vulnerable rural families in Iraq can now benefit from a safer, more secure means of receiving income thanks to mobile money transfer technology.
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 hopes to benefit local farmers by enabling them to restart or expand farming activities with rehabilitated infrastructure, and provide agricultural livelihood opportunities for displaced people returning home.
Participants, who are from households with no other income source, include women who are often the sole breadwinners for their families, and disabled people. The workers had remained in their villages during conflict or returned home after being displaced by the fighting.
“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, FAO’s representative in Iraq. “Providing income opportunities is critical in rural areas affected by conflict, where competition for employment is high, jobs are scarce and people are struggling to support their families.”
FAO is seeking $74.5 million of urgent funding to assist 1.39 million people in 2017, through rehabilitating damaged agricultural infrastructure, supporting farmers to vaccinate and feed their livestock, and expanding cash-for-work and other income-generating opportunities.