Food transfers, electronic food vouchers and child nutritional status among Rohingya children living in Bangladesh
This article (PDF) in Plos One examines assocations between receipt of an electronic food voucher (e-voucher) compared to food rations on the nutritional status of Rohingya children living in refugee camps in Bangladesh. The study is associational, using cross-sectional data. Heights and weights were measured of 523 children aged between 6 and 23 months in households receiving either a food ration consisting of rice, pulses, vegetable oil (362 children) or an e-voucher (161 children) that could be used to purchase 19 different foods. Results show that in a humanitarian assistance setting, Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, household receipt of an electronic food voucher instead of a food ration is associated with improvements in the linear growth of children between 6 and 23 months, but not in measures of acute undernutrition or other anthropometric outcomes. The association is robuts to the inclusion of maternal, household and location characteristics. Women in male headed households receiving the e-voucher were 11 percentage points more likely to decide solely or jointly how to use the food assistance that their households had received compared to women in male headed households receiving the GFD. Households receiving the e-voucher reported being able to make the assistance they received last until the next payment. Improved dietary diversity, increased women’s control over the transfer and the ability of households to making the transfer last until the next payment are all associated with receipt of the e-voucher. The association between e-vouchers and linear growth of children indicates that transitioning from food ration to electronic food vouchers does not adversely affect child nutritional status.