Cash and productive transfers for women in the Sahel

Nejiha is a beneficiary of FAO's "Productive Transfers / CASH +" project in the wilaya of Gorgol, in southern Mauritania. The project, funded by Finland, aims to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable populations in Mauritania and Mali.


It is about one o'clock in the afternoon when Nejiha returns from the Monguél village market. Her eldest daughter is busy preparing lunch, while her sons play cards a few meters away. At age 55, Nejiha is the head of a family of nine children and four grandchildren.

Three-quarters of the women in the Gorgol region are heads of households. More than half of them are illiterate, and dependent on external aid to supplement their low incomes, making them highly vulnerable to food insecurity.

The CASH+ approach flexibly combines unconditional cash transfers with transfers of inkind productive assets, accompanied by technical training, to benefit vulnerable and food insecure households. 

"With the first cash transfer, I immediately invested in a small business. I stock up my display at the market which allows me to earn between 6,000 and 7,000 MRO per month, thank God” says Nejiha. "To know in advance when I was going to get the cash allowed me to organize with my creditors, and to use the profits of my business wisely.”

A second transfer enabled Nejiha to repay her creditors and to cover the family's food and health expenses, while the last one was mostly used to increase the capital of her business, repay family debts and pay school fees.