WFP assistance to refugees, which started in 1987, has been a major factor in the prevention of hunger and malnutrition, as documented by successive joint assessments.
While a large majority of refugees live in urban areas, there are 19 officially designated refugee settlements hosting around three percent of the total refugee population (30,000 people). Settlements allow refugees who have no other means of living to receive free housing and basic services, provided by the Government with support from UNHCR, as well as WFP food assistance.
In the 2012 Joint Assessment Mission by WFP and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), household interviews showed extremely vulnerable, food-insecure households are completely reliant on WFP food assistance and are increasingly unable to purchase food from the local market to complement the WFP ration. At the same time, families with one or more breadwinner, and who are able to meet some of their food needs themselves, are sharing their rations with the extremely vulnerable.
The provision of take-home rations of fortified vegetable oil as an incentive for girls’ education has contributed to increased enrolment and regular attendance for girls at primary and secondary schools. WFP school feeding programme has become an important factor in households’ decision to send their girls to school and not to marry them off at an early age. Girls’ attendance at schools in the refugee settlements has improved but remains lower than that of boys.
Parents have been reluctant to send their girls to schools with no female teachers, preferring to keep them at home to attend to domestic tasks. Female teachers are difficult to attract to work in these schools due to their remoteness. An individual in-kind incentive for female teachers has proved to be an effective solution to this problem.
The UN Joint Assessment Mission recommended that WFP in-kind transfers be extended to households in the settlements that send young people for skills training provided by partner organizations under the Solutions Strategy.