Mohammad sells vegetables at a market in Dollow. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
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At the height of Somalia's 2011 famine, Madow Mohammad had to leave her crippled 5-year-old son Abdirahman by the side of the road to lead her eight other starving children toward help.Now, more than 70 percent of WFP aid in Somalia is cash, much of it distributed via mobile phones.More than 50 other charities are also giving out cash: Each month Mohammad receives $65 from the Italian aid group Coopi to spend as she wants: milk, medicine, food or school fees.Cash has many advantages over food aid if markets are functioning. Money is more efficient than bags of food: in Somalia, cash aid means 80 cents in every $1 goes directly to the family, rather than 60 cents from food aid, said Calum McLean, the cash expert at the European Union's humanitarian aid department.Six years ago, 5 percent of the EU's humanitarian aid budget was cash distributions.Despite these restrictions, Food for Peace increased cash and voucher programs from 3 percent of the budget in 2011 to 20 percent last year.
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