The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a timely and generous contribution of US$19.24 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID-BHA).
The funding will help provide life-saving assistance to 181,000 displaced Iraqis and 72,000 Syrian refugees in the form of cash transfers that support their immediate food needs.
The U.S. support is helping ensure that people can meet basic food and nutrition needs during and in the aftermath of crises - including post-conflict and through the COVID-19 pandemic.
This will also enable them to withdraw the money they are entitled to at their convenience without being limited to one location, encouraging a streamlined and efficient process of humanitarian assistance delivery and social distancing.
"With an estimated 1.2 million people in Iraq who remain displaced and 90,000 Syrian refugees in camps, the United States continues its support to WFP's life-saving efforts to address acute humanitarian needs," said USAID/Iraq Mission Director John Cardenas.
"This contribution will also aim to further digitalize the Public Distribution System (PDS), which is a critical step to strengthening the Government of Iraq's social protection system to address citizens' needs."
In addition to helping WFP provide vital food assistance to displaced Iraqi families and Syrian refugees, this new contribution will allow WFP to better support millions of Iraqis all over the country through the digitalization of the PDS system with the Ministry of Trade, which allows for more accurate and timely assistance of actual people in need with monthly food rations provided by the Government of Iraq.
"We are thankful for the steadfast support of the US government and people of the United States in providing assistance to vulnerable displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees as well as in enhancing social protection, through the reform of the PDS and strengthening the capacities of the Iraqi government," said WFP Representative in Iraq Ally-Raza Qureshi.
"The contribution will ensure that progress made in improving the food security of displaced families and refugees is maintained, and that essential technical support to the Government of Iraq for digitalizing the largest public distribution system which supports millions of Iraqis, continues."
Since 2010, USAID has been a consistent partner to WFP's emergency operation in Iraq. This collaboration expanded to support social protection initiatives in 2019. WFP and the Ministry of Trade continue to roll out the 'Tamwini' ('My Food Ration') smartphone application to families in Najaf governorate and are in the process of scaling up to include people in 15 other governorates.
The app enables households to easily and quickly update their data on their phone, such as a birth or a marriage, saving time and enhancing accuracy.