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FAO CASH+ programme boosts the livelihoods of women and vulnerable households in Mali

An FAO programme is helping 750 vulnerable households across 36 villages in the Kayes region of Mali. The 18-month programme combines unconditional cash transfers with in-kind livestock inputs such as goats and animal feed.

A group of women in the village of Diabidiala, in the Kayes region of Mali, receive the first tranche of their cash transfers. © FAO/Sonia Nguyen

The CASH+ transfers go directly to vulnerable women in 99 percent of cases. These women, often with large families, need to protect their livelihoods, diversify their sources of income and accumulate productive assets to cope with recurrent crises linked to drought, desertification, floods, conflicts, economic shocks and disease.

Programme participant Nouhan Dicko has had to raise five children on her own since her husband left her. Before receiving her CASH+ transfer, her only source of income was selling zèguènè – a wild fruit collected in the bush – at the Nioro market, more than 10 km from her village. Now a delighted Nouhan says, “with the money I received, I have been able to purchase two bags of rice! And I hope that my goats will deliver soon.”

Sira Diatta spent two years relying on her village neighbours to provide food for her and her ten children. With her husband seriously ill and their field abandoned, life was extremely tough. Cash+ came at just the right time for her. “I am relieved to be getting out of this difficult period,” she says, “and the small livestock will give me more autonomy.”