The internal conflict in Guinea Bissau, which broke out in June 1998 and lasted 11 months, caused infrastructure destruction, the collapse of administrative structures and the disintegration of the social fabric.It is ranked 175 out of 177 countries according to the Human Development Index(HDI) Report in 2007/2008.
Poverty, unemployment and social and economic problems aggravated by the crisis are causing nutritional problems among the most vulnerable population. Cereal production has decreased due to asset destruction, lack of seeds and fertilizers, and rice field (dykes and irrigation systems) deterioration or destruction.
The quality of roads, already poor before the crisis, has worsened, disrupting food marketing and availability in the country. Educational indicators, very low even before the crisis (rate of school enrolment 45 percent, drop out rate up to 66 percent, illiteracy rate among men 59 percent and among women 85 percent) worsened dramatically during the crisis. Poverty prevents families from sending children to school and educational infrastructure is insufficient and deteriorated.
WFP's main goals are to support the reconciliation process and reconstruction efforts of the Government in assisting the most vulnerable groups of the population, in the food insecure areas, in addressing the needs for agricultural rehabilitation.
The activities will contribute to improving access to health and education as outlined in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) and the MDG. WFP will put specific emphasis on capacity building activities in order to assist the Government in laying down the foundation to shift from recovery to development.
WFP interventions in the country encompass the following objectives:
- develop a social protection and resilience building strategy using protective and productive social safety nets. Protective measures will focus on meeting food and nutritional needs of those affected by HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Productive measures will strengthen community infrastructure and support agriculture activities through conditional transfers (food-for- assets)
- enhance nutrition surveillance and response to high malnutrition rates in crisis prone districts through targeted nutritional assistance, improved nutritious food and capacity building at all levels;
- increase access to education and provide basic nutrition through food and nutrition assistance, as well as food and nutrition security surveillance;
- nutrition programmes for malnourished children and pregnant and lactating mothers.