Big changes are underway in Ethiopia, WFP's largest country of operations. Ethiopia is among the 25 developing countries that have reached MDG1, halving the number of undernourished people (from 75 percent to 35 percent over two decades). Ethiopia has also reached MDG 4 for child mortality by reducing under-5 mortality by two-thirds between 1990 and 2012. Nine out of 10 Ethiopian children are enrolled in primary school and the country's five-year plan aims to foster sustainable, broad-based development.
Despite these positive advances, Ethiopia remains one of the world's most food-insecure countries, where approximately one in three people live below the poverty line. The latest Humanitarian Requirement Document (HRD) released by the Government of Ethiopia and the humanitarian community, estimates that 3.2 million Ethiopians need relief food assistance in 2014 due to drought conditions in certain parts of the country.
WFP is working with the government and our partners to strengthen the resilience of Ethiopians and to chart a more prosperous and sustainable future for the next generation. In 2014, WFP Ethiopia is providing assistance to 6 million vulnerable people with food and special nutritional assistance, including refugees, school children, farmers, people living with HIV/AIDS, mothers and infants. WFP also works to help prevent hunger in the future. We do this through programmes that use food as a means to build assets, spread knowledge and nurture stronger, more dynamic communities.
Ethiopia faces new challenges, as the country is now hosting 650,000 refugees from neighboring countries, the highest number of refugees in Africa with the arrival of tens of thousands of South Sudanese refugees who fled the fighting that erupted in their country at the end of 2013. WFP is responding by offering food assistance in camps and at border points. Refugees from Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea are also receiving WFP monthly food assistance.
Under the Ethiopian government’s MERET programme, WFP aims to provide food assistance in 2014 to nearly 650,000 people participating in environmentally friendly public work projects such as sustainable land and water management. WFP also plans to offer similar assistance this year to 1.2 million Ethiopians involved in public works projects like building roads and schools as part of the next phase of the government’s Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP).
Our Purchase for Progress Programme (P4P) aims to strengthen the management and marketing capacities of smallholder farmers. This year WFP plans to purchase 40,000 tons of maize and haricot beans from P4P farmers - double our 2013 purchases. WFP will use that food for our various programmes, cutting the cost of importing food while boosting the local economy. For example food grown by P4P farmers is used in the Home Grown School Feeding initiative which provides a daily hot meal to some 45,000 children. This is part of the WFP’s school feeding programme benefitting nearly 650,000 children from food-insecure families.
WFP also offers special nutritional supplements to nearly 2 million most vulnerable Ethiopians - including pregnant women, nursing mothers, children under 5 and those living with HIV/AIDS. And we continue to find new and innovative ways of delivering our assistance, such as through cash and voucher pilots for our relief, refugee, and HIV/AIDS operations.
WFP's Vulnerability and Analysis Mapping (VAM) unit has developed a variety of early warning tools to strengthen Ethiopia's fight against food insecurity - and assist the government's shift towards proactive disaster risk management. Our operations also serve the broader humanitarian community, notably through the construction of a new logistics hub in Djibouti, scheduled for completion in 2015, and by operating the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), that serves UN agencies along with hundreds of other humanitarian organisations.
In carrying out all its activities and to have positive impact on the lives of those WFP assists, WFP ensures gender and protection issues are considered. Hence, the needs of women, girls, men and boys are equally analyzed and prioritized.