WFP Launches E-Cards for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon with MasterCards Support

Europe, Lebanon, Middle East, Syrian Arab Republic, United Kingdom

To tweet this news, copy and paste:NEWS:#MasterCard&@WFPlaunch e-cards for Syrian refugees in Lebanon

11/10/2013 — LONDON & BEIRUT, Lebanon — (BUSINESS WIRE)

As part of its massive humanitarian response to the Syrian crisis, the United NationsWorld Food Programme (WFP)is rolling out an innovative electronic voucher programme in Lebanon that will allow hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees to meet their food needs and help boost the local economy.

Syrian refugee Ali Ahmad Farhat holds his MasterCard / WFP e-card as others stand in line to receive ... Syrian refugee Ali Ahmad Farhat holds his MasterCard / WFP e-card as others stand in line to receive theirs, at a basketball court. (Photo: Business Wire)

By the years end, some 800,000 refugees will be using these electronic cards or e-cards at participating shops in Lebanon under an initiative realized with the technical support of WFPs private sector partner,MasterCard(NYSE:MA).

Besides Lebanon, WFP will be introducing a similar e-card programme for Syrian refugees in Jordan, again with MasterCards support, in a phased rollout for an initial 300,000 refugees by the end of 2013 that will continue into next year.

The new e-cards will allow Syrian refugees to choose the foods they want, when they want, saidElisabeth Rasmusson, WFPs Assistant Executive Director for Partnership and Governance Services. We are grateful for MasterCards assistance in setting up the e-voucher system in Lebanon and Jordan, the two countries hosting the largest number of refugees. Its just one example of how our combined efforts can offer powerful and innovative ways to fight hunger.

The e-card collaboration is part of a larger,multi-year partnershipwith MasterCard, launched in September 2012. It twins MasterCards prowess in electronic payments systems with WFPs vast experience assisting the planets hungriest and most vulnerable people.

At MasterCard we believe that technology has the power to unlock innovation in food aid delivery, enabling a greater impact and helping achieve the vision that a world beyond cash builds a world beyond hunger, saidAnn Cairns, MasterCards President of International Markets. We are committed to working with the UN World Food Programme to end world hunger.

Piloted in September for some 2,000 Syrian households (around 10,000 people) in the southern Lebanese town of Nabatiyeh, the e-card programme will be gradually expanded to other parts of the country in the coming weeks, replacing WFPs paper vouchers. Families will receive a card loaded monthly with US$27 per person, which can be redeemed against a list of items at participating local stores. That allows them to buy the foods that fit their needs, including fresh produce which is not normally included in traditional food rations.

This is a real boon for Syrian refugees who have endured tremendous hardship over many months, said Muhannad Hadi, WFPs Emergency coordinator for the Syrian crisis. The e-cards also bring business to local merchants, and they make WFPs operations more time and cost effective. This is a win for all of us.

By supporting WFP, we have developed a solution which combines our experience in payments and technology with WFPs insight into the most pressing needs facing refugees, said MasterCards Levant Market Manager, Basel El Tell. It is very encouraging to see how the e-cards can positively impact the refugees as the initiative scales up across the region.

The e-cards reflect WFPs broader shift away from physical food deliveries to vouchers and other cutting-edge forms of assistance that can be more effective and have a larger impact. So far in 2013, through voucher programmes for Syrian refugees, WFP has injected roughly US$ 192 million into the local economies of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.

The Syria response is WFPs largest and most complex emergency operation. WFP needs US$30 million each week to meet the needs of people affected by the conflict.

WFPs operations in Lebanon are being supported by Australia, Canada, Denmark, the European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Norway, UK and the US, among others.

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WFP is the worlds largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Last year, WFP reached more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance. Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media

For more information please contact (email

Gregory Barrow, WFP/London, Tel. +44 207 2409001, Mob. +44 796 8008474

Abeer Etefa, WFP/Cairo, Tel. +202 2528 1730 ext. 2600, Mob. +20 0166634352

Laure Chadraoui, WFP/Beirut-Amman, Mob. + 962795917987 and +9613489925

Jane Howard, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 65132321, Mob. +39 346 7600521

Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1 646 5566909, Mob. +1 6468241112

About MasterCard:

MasterCard(NYSE: MA),,is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the worlds fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCards products and solutions make everyday commerce activities such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter@MasterCardNews,join the discussion on theCashless Pioneers Blogandsubscribefor the latest news on theEngagement Bureau.



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KEYWORDS: Lebanon Syrian Arab Republic United Kingdom Europe Middle East

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Syrian refugee Ali Ahmad Farhat holds his MasterCard / WFP e-card as others stand in line to receive theirs, at a basketball court. (Photo: Business Wire)