Project overview

The Dalili smartphone application provides up-to-date information on food prices and fosters competition among shops. Refugee families use Dalili to find savings in their favorite foods that provide a sense of home away from home.

The Problem & Opportunity

Small and densely populated, Lebanon lies at the heart of a region beset by conflict and political instability. The country has shown exceptional solidarity towards people fleeing war and insecurity in neighbouring countries and has the world’s highest per capita refugee presence, estimated at one quarter of the overall population.

The spill over from the ongoing war in Syria has exacerbated economic and social challenges, placing a strain on existing resources and already overstretched public services and infrastructure in host communities. 

In response, WFP runs an e-card system as its primary form of food assistance for vulnerable Syrian and Lebanese families who cannot meet their basic food needs. E-cards are loaded each month with US$ 27 per person and can be used to buy food in any of the 500 contracted shops across Lebanon. The system allows refugees to choose the makeup of their meals, gives them access to fresh produce and significantly boosts the local economy.

Worldwide smartphone subscription has been increasing steadily over the last couple of years, and is expected to grow further to 6.8 billion by 2022 from 3.8 billion in 2016, according to the 2017 Ericsson Mobility Report. That growth will partially be within vulnerable populations, including refugees, opening space for innovation towards additional opportunities and better customer experience for those in need.

The Solution

Dalili—"my guide" in Arabic—is a smartphone app that helps Syrian and Lebanese families make the most of their money.  Without leaving their homes, people receiving WFP assistance can browse hundreds of staple items in local stores and easily find the best prices and deals for the products they want to buy. Customers can also use the app to provide anonymous feedback on their shopping experience to WFP and the retailers. Dalili aims to boost market efficiency, improve competition among shops and ultimately reduce the prices for most popular products. 

Dalili App

Download Dalili

When families have limited funds, they need to get the most out of the available resources. Dalili unleashes the power of the market to better serve the poorest and most vulnerable families.
Abdallah Al-Wardat, WFP Lebanon Country Director
The Impact

For refugees, who have traditionally received food in distribution lines, grocery shopping is more than a routine task, it is the freedom to purchase food and cook meals that tie cultural identities. Families across Lebanon use WFP assistance to make traditional Syrian dishes, teaching children the flavours of their country. Just as Dalili connects refugees with retailers, it is the food they purchase and bring home with them that ultimately brings people together.

The Dalili application was launched in November 2017 in Qabb Ellias and Bar Ellias in the Bekaa Valley. As of November 2018, Dalili is available nationwide in Lebanon helping refugees to compare 250 items in 385 shops. The app currently has more than 11,900 users on a monthly basis and more than 15,000 total downloads. To scale the impact and benefit more people, WFP is running pilots in Jordan and Kenya.

Meet Muna, a Shop-Savvy Refugee

In the quiet village of Qabb Elias in eastern Lebanon, Muna sits on her porch swiping through Dalili, with her young daughter Lamar by her side. Just a day away from the monthly WFP cash assistance top-up, Muna prepares a grocery list on Dalili—a ritual familiar to her life back in Syria. Bargain hunting from the comfort of her home, she is excited scrolling through Dalili. The app helps Muna make smart decisions on how to spend her WFP assistance.

One time, I found 4,000 Lebanese pounds (US$ 2.66) savings in milk. That’s enough to buy four bags of pasta and to make four dinners for my family.
Meet Omar, a Shop Owner Using Dalili

Omar is the owner of Al-Hayek—a family shop in Qabb Elias across the street from an informal Syrian refugee settlement where many WFP beneficiaries live. To compete with neighbouring shops, Omar drastically improved his store with the support of WFP's retail team. WFP provides retail trainings and one-to-one shop consultations on issues ranging from layout to product assortment.

“The store was a mess before working with WFP,” Omar says. “I didn’t take advantage of the space and there was little variety in products.” Now the shop is rearranged, aisles are categorized and more items are added, including Syrian brands.

Omar uses Dalili as free advertising for monthly promotions. He creates Ramadan promotions to attract more customers and support his dream to one day expand the family business. He posts a special deal he created on Dalili: two packs of pasta with the purchase of a can of tomato paste.

Meet Miriam, a Syrian Grandmother

As a long-time customer of the Al-Hayek shop in Qabb Elias, Miriam has witnessed its improvements. When she arrived as a refugee from Syria in 2011, she could not afford to grocery shop too often. Now, with WFP assistance, Miriam visits Al-Hayek every month.

And as the sun sets during the holy month of Ramadan, Mariam’s sons arrive at her home from nearby tents for iftar. It is her favourite time of day, as her family gathers under one roof for a meal she picked out herself. For refugees, grocery shopping is more than a routine task, it is the freedom to purchase food and cook meals that tie cultural identities. Just as Dalili connects refugees with retailers, it is the food they purchase and bring home with them that ultimately brings people together.

Miriam, a Syrian Grandmother
It feels good to walk to the shop to provide for my family.
Watch How Dalili Works

Meet the team

Emmanuel Sevrin
WFP Innovation Accelerator
Last updated: 05/12/2018