Current issues and what the World Food Programme is doing
Ecuador is a country of great social, cultural, and geographical diversity located between Colombia and Peru. Although the Ecuadorian government has worked hard to reduce poverty in recent years, the country continues to face critical issues such as chronic malnutrition and gender-based violence.
Adding to these inherent problems, a steady flow of Colombian refugees enter Ecuador each month, fleeing violence in their own country. Around 84 percent of these refugees do not plan to return to Colombia, giving Ecuador the largest influx of refugees in Latin America. Compounding these issues, Ecuador is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and to natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, flooding, droughts, and earthquakes.
The World Food Programme (WFP) works with the Ecuadorian government to help families and communities at high risk of food insecurity. Our work leaves a lasting impact on the lives of the people we help by training them on good nutrition and healthy eating habits. Our humanitarian work in Ecuador is supported by our own research studies.
What are the current issues in Ecuador?
Ecuador is currently facing a number of challenges, including:
Providing Food and Nutrition Security To People Affected By The Earthquake
Following the devastating earthquake that struck Ecuador’s northern coast on 16 April 2016, WFP immediately mobilized to provide emergency assistance, at the request of the government. During the first month, WFP distributed food to over 105,000 people and for the first time in Latin America and the Caribbean, WFP is providing monthly cash transfers through the government’s safety net platform. Cash transfers boost the local economy and help people rebuild their livelihoods, while also promoting healthy eating habits. WFP is also offering three logistics centers that provide 4,800 square meters of storage facilities and mobile office units for the government and humanitarian partners.
Helping Colombia’s Refugees And Vulnerable Ecuadorian Host Communities
WFP complements the Ecuadorian government’s social policy by providing food assistance to Colombian refugees and asylum seekers, as well as to vulnerable Ecuadorian families, through an electronic voucher scheme. Participants use their voucher to buy fresh, nutritious foods at local stores and attend monthly training sessions, where they learn about healthy eating habits, gender equity, and good hygiene and sanitation practices. We also work with small farmer associations, linking them to WFP food assistance activities and to social protection programmes run by the Ecuadorian government.
Building Resilience Against Climate Change
We work with the Ecuadorian government and with 50 communities in the most vulnerable areas of the province of Pichincha and the Jubones river basin, raising awareness of the effects of climate change on food and nutrition security and strengthening the ability of local communities to respond to these changes. The project supports community members, encouraging participation in educational workshops and helping them decide on specific measures they can take to cope with their changing environment.
Preparing For And Responding To Emergencies
Together with Ecuador’s Secretariat of Risk Management (SGR) and the National Decentralised Risk Management System, we have developed tools to measure the impact of disasters on the food and nutrition security of affected communities. SGR and WFP also conduct joint training and workshops to prepare the country’s local and national institutions to respond to natural and man-made disasters.
What the World Food Programme (WFP) is doing in Ecuador
We work alongside the Ecuadorian government and seek to improve the food and nutrition security of vulnerable people in Ecuador, reduce the risks associated with climate change and natural disasters, and promote the integration of Colombian refugees and asylum seekers into Ecuadorian society. All projects are designed to strengthen local and national capacities. We also carry out studies to discover the most effective food assistance models, the results of which translate to improvements in how we can help the most vulnerable people.
Joint United Nations Programmes
Strengthening local capacities for peace and development through a human security approach in the northern border zone of Ecuador:
- United Nations Development Programme
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
- United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund
- United Nations Population Fund
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Strengthening local food systems and building local capacities to improve production systems and increase access to safe, nutritious foods:
- Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
- Pan American Health Organisation
- World Health Organisation
- United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund
World Food Programme partners in Ecuador
Featured Ecuador publications
The Ecuador 2015 Annual Report focuses on the impact of WFP’s assistance in people’s lives. Farmers, storekeepers and participants in WFP projects describe their experiences with WFP in their own words.
A Country Brief provides the latest snapshot of the country strategy, operations, operational highlights (achievements and issues/challenges), partnerships and country background.
The Emergency Dashboard provides a visual overview of the most relevant operational information related to WFP’s response in the emergency, including geographical, funding, and performance related information.
Looking for more publications on Ecuador? Visit the Ecuador publications archive.