Current issues and what the World Food Programme is doing
Extending deep into the surrounding state of Senegal from Africa’s Atlantic Coast, The Gambia, with a population of around 1.9 million and a subsistence agrarian economy, remains one of the world’s most food-deficient countries. Ranked 172nd (of 188) for Human Development, The Gambia is poor even by regional standards: at least a tenth of its population is food insecure; almost half of all Gambians are vulnerable to food insecurity. The country’s exposure to climate change – especially to droughts, windstorms, floods and rising sea levels – exacerbates this vulnerability.
WFP requires urgent and sustainable funding to go on providing food and nutritional assistance to The Gambia. Lack of funding will severely hamper WFP’s work, especially the provision of school meals and nutrition support to children under five.
Current issues in The Gambia
The Gambia suffers from chronic food insecurity and a high prevalence of malnutrition. Agricultural capacity is limited; value addition is near-absent. With domestic cereal production only meeting 60 percent of needs, the country relies heavily on food imports. There is little economic diversification, with foreign exchange earnings mostly derived from groundnut exports, tourism and remittances. Natural disasters and disease outbreaks are common. Two-thirds of The Gambia’s land area, mainly along the Senegalese border and along major border crossing routes, are at risk of cholera.
In 2015, the prevalence of global acute malnutrition was found to have increased to 10.4 percent. The areas scoring worst for malnutrition – Kuntaur, Janjanbureh, Basse and Kerewan – also had the highest rates of stunting, recorded nationally at a critical 24.9 percent.
What the World Food Programme is doing in The Gambia
WFP, in partnership with the Government of The Gambia and donors including Brazil, ECHO, the European Union, Japan and USAID, supports The Gambia’s people in need through food assistance, including school meals, food and cash transfers.
- WFP is working to reduce the prevalence of underweight and malnutrition in vulnerable communities. This involves the provision of highly nutritious foods to children under five and nursing mothers, as well as nutrition awareness activities, for 105,000 people recovering from drought in 2011 and floods in 2012.
- WFP is helping establish a home-grown school meals programme in areas where malnutrition is high and school attendance low, with more than 100,000 students benefitting.
- WFP is supporting government efforts to build communities’ capacity for climate resilience. As Chair of the UN Disaster Management Group, WFP also assists in coordinating a harmonized disaster preparedness and response plan.
World Food Programme partners in The Gambia
WFP cannot fight global hunger and poverty alone. These are our partners in The Gambia:
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