WFP to switch from in-kind food donations to cash transfer in Nepal

WFP to switch from in-kind food donations to cash transfer in Nepal

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) will change the way it distributes food assistance to refugees in Nepal from June 2018. The refugees will soon receive cash distributions instead of in-kind food, this aligns with the preferences of the refugees and ensures the dignity of choice for refugees.

Over 100,000 Bhutanese people lived in refugee camps in Nepal for 15-20 years. In the early 1990’s over one sixth of Bhutan’s population sought asylum around the world, with a large proportion fleeing to Nepal.

Since 2007 the refugee community has declined due to a resettlement programme, the majority of refugees were relocated in Australia, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

In June the WFP will shift to a basic needs approach to support the refugees living in camps. This approach will provide the most vulnerable people, as defined by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), with the cash equivalent of their food ration. Less vulnerable refugees will receive the cash equivalent of their current ration.

Around 1000 refugees will receive the full cash donation of $13 a month per person. The most vulnerable refugees are typically the elderly, those with disabilities, and vulnerable female headed households.

The donation of $13 a month is the equivalent of receiving 15kg of food; this would include: 440g of rice, 90g of pulses and 25g of vegetable oil. The less vulnerable refugees will receive cash equivalent to 10kg of food.

The new approach provides refugees with greater dignity and control over the food they consume and purchase. The shift also reflects the preferences of the refugees.

Pippa Bradford, WFP Representative and Country Director commented:

“After 25 years of humanitarian assistance, WFP will shift from in kind food assistance to cash distributions until the end of 2018”

“WFP has sought a special allocation to ensure that for 2018 it can continue to provide full support to the refugees. WFP will also promote the expansion of vegetable gardens with tools, seeds and guidance, in order to complement the refugees’ food basket and promote self-reliance”

The WFP has supported the Bhutanese refugees in Nepal since 1992 and although refugee numbers have declined WFP’s support remains critical. The changes are part of a longer term strategy to phase out assistance to the remaining refugees.


Join us at the 4th Annual AIDF Asia Summit where refugee response and humanitarian logistics will be a key discussion point.

If you’d like to stay informed on the latest updates in aid and development, please sign up for the AIDF newsletter.


Image credit: WFP

Be part of the humanitarian aid and development community!

Register now to receive AIDF's newsletter with insights into latest trends, innovations and best practice in the humanitarian and development sectors