A glimmer of hope for Safi

Cash transfers provide a source of income for the most vulnerable families.

Une mère porte son enfant
03 March 2022

At 21 years old, Safi finds herself alone to raise her daughter Mujinga after her husband died of malaria. "He wasn't able to get the proper treatment because of we didn't have the money", said Safi sadly, who lives in Lukonzola, a village in the province of Tanganyika in the south-east region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Before that, she used to work in large fields with her husband, but now Safi is limited to a small piece of land. Totally desperate, Safi did not have enough to provide proper nutrition for her one-year-old daughter who was rapidly wasting away.

When a UNICEF community outreach worker visited Safi, he immediately asked her to take Mujinga to the nearest UNICEF health clinic. The attending nurse confirmed what the outreach worker had suspected: the little girl was suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Safi was also suffering from malnutrition and had measles and malaria.

Mother and child were immediately treated, and an ambulatory nutrition care program was set up to help them regain weight. As part of a German government assisted project, Safi received a cell phone and a SIM card with a secret code so that she could receive cash transfer of $40 in Congolese francs. She has been carefully keeping the phone while waiting to receive her first transfer.  

With that money, Safi hopes to buy the supplies she needs to start up a small business to sell flour, vegetables and peanuts. As a mom, she plans to use the money earned to buy nutritious food for her daughter who is back to a normal weight. With the unconditional cash transfers, UNICEF is helping to prevent malnutrition in the Manono health district. Indeed, it is mainly by removing the financial barriers to proper nutrition that cash transfers can improve nutritional outcomes.