The Impact of Voucher Assistance on Livelihoods

SEADS Handbook Location: Chapter 5 (book p. 53, PDF p. 60)

In Phase 1 (August 2017) of the project, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) provided food assistance to address the dire food needs of recently internally displaced people, returnees, and a small percentage of vulnerable host community households affected by conflict.

In Phase 2 (September 2018), CRS targeted 24,000 of those individuals (3,000 households) to receive agricultural input support and seed protection rations. The conditional seed and tool assistance included a seed vouchers fair during season B (March–June), another during season A (August–January), and a direct distribution of two hoes per family at the season B seed voucher fair. Along with the first seed voucher fair, households also received a seed protection ration (via the voucher fair) equivalent to a monthly half ration. The targeted households bought the following seeds: corn (bought by 95.4% of households), cowpea (75.7%), beans (25.6%), watermelon (24%), and peanuts (22.9%). Overall, 91.1% of the beneficiary households found the seed fairs acceptable or excellent.

Overall objectives for the project were:

  • Conflict-affected households in Kasai Central and Kasai Oriental improved their food security.
  • Targeted households improved their food self-sufficiency.

In terms of food production, nearly all targeted households (95.4%) planted the purchased seeds, resulting in a higher food production in 2019, but still not above average. A large proportion of households (59%) planted more in 2019 than in 2018, 46% planted more than in an average year, and 30% planted the same or less than in 2018.

The Phase 2 participants showed improved food security, with an average food consumption score (FCS) ranging from 42.7 to 45.8 (acceptable is > 42.5), and 51.5% of the group achieved the acceptable FCS level of 42.5.

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) used vouchers to increase community access to seeds and improve food security.