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Boost to UK aid delivered directly into the hands of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Humanitarian aid, Pakistan, Syria crisis

There has been coverage of an innovative UK aid programme in Lebanon which is giving a vital lifeline to Syrian refugees through small cash transfers. Stories have appeared in the Financial Times, the Telegraph and the Express in the last two days.

On Twitter, there has also been support for the project, with the Archbishop of Canterbury among those tweeting about it.

The coverage explains that the International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has recently announced a programme to support more than 10,000 Syrian refugee families living in Lebanon.

This is how it works: we assess the needs of refugee families who have fled brutal and relentless conflict in Syria and we provide the most vulnerable with a monthly allowance based on their individual situation. This allowance can be withdrawn from any cashpoint in their local area and is used to buy essential supplies, such as food and medical assistance to ensure people can access support when they need it.

We carry out regular checks and use the latest biometric technology, such as iris scanning, to eliminate fraud and make sure UK aid goes only to those who need it most.

On average, we provide Syrian refugee families in Lebanon with around £1.50 per person per day to buy essential food and goods – this can be the difference between life and death.

UK aid is achieving value for money - every £1 of UK support delivered through cash transfers goes even further to deliver £1.20 worth of traditional aid. And it has already cut excessive bureaucracy, avoided duplication by different aid agencies and given dignity to the refugees that rely on our support.

It is even helping to prevent drastic measures families are taking to survive, such as skipping meals or forcing children into labour.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Penny Mordaunt said:

The UK continues to stand by the people of Syria through this brutal conflict. We are committed to helping people rebuild their lives so that they can one day return home when it is safe. This is firmly in the British interest.

UK aid is giving refugee families in Lebanon an allowance so they can buy essential items. Our support is giving them dignity, so they can improve their own dire situation.

The results are remarkable. We are empowering refugees to transform their lives and helping them to stamp out child labour so the most vulnerable can get the education they deserve.

Don’t just take our word for it. The Independent Commission for Aid Impact has recommended that DFID should scale up the use of cash transfers and the National Audit Office found that e-transfers reduce the risk of fraud and boosts transparency.

We are using this innovative approach to deliver humanitarian aid around the world, including in Pakistan where there are 60 million people who have less than £1 a day to live on.

We are supporting over 5 million of the poorest and most vulnerable people in Pakistan to ensure they have the food, water and shelter they need to survive. As a result, people are eating more nutritious food and lifting themselves out of poverty. The use of biometric payments makes this programme one of the most secure cash transfers in the world.

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