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ECUADOR: LOCAL GOVERNMENTS COMMITMENT IS KEY IN THE FIGHT AGAINST UNDERNUTRITION

The first stop in the visit to Carchi was a food fair organized by the Montúfar Municipality, a WFP partner, in San Gabriel's central plaza. Many school children were attended. It was hard to choose among delicious local specialties.

QUITO –The WFP Regional Director, Gemmo Lodesani, who was in Ecuador to visit ongoing projects, was positively impressed with the commitment shown by local governments to work hand in hand with WFP to reduce childhood malnutrition. He said that “this strong commitment is the only solution in the fight against malnutrition and hunger in the world.”

Coinciding with the Gemmo Lodesani’s first visit to Ecuador, WFP signed two agreements of institutional cooperation with the Eloy Alfaro and Esmeraldas cantons, and reassured WFP’s collaboration with the Provincial Government of Carchi and with the Municipal Governments of San Lorenzo and San Gabriel.
 
During the Regional Director’s tour through the northern border with WFP Representative in Ecuador, Deborah Hines, both WFP officials met with local operation partners supporting the food and nutritional security of the people. Lodesani visited gardens producing fruits and vegetables that contribute to diversify the diet of disabled people, and he talked with small farmers who sell their products to school and their school meals. In these efforts, WFP is working with local governments, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Aquaculture and Fisheries; the Manuela Espejo Mission and the Joaquín Gallegos Lara Programme.
 
In the Esmeraldas province, Lodesani visited San Lorenzo, Palma Real, Borbón, Limones y the Esmeraldas City, and met with the cantonal authorities. In this province, WFP, working in partnership with local governments, complements the children’s nutrition in child care centres and schools.
 
The WFP Regional Director met in Quito with authorities of the Refugee Directorate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. WFP carries out innovative activities in the northern border and plans to continue his work on behalf of Colombian refugee families and Ecuadorian families in host communities, prioritizing the integration between the two groups, according to government priorities.
 
In this meeting, more than address the issue of integration, there was a proposition in conducting a joint evaluation about the intervention strategies for the assistance of refugees in urban areas, and the use of the waiting rooms in Refugee Directorate as part WFP training strategy. The training in nutritional food security is offered as a complement to the food assistance offered to refugees and host populations.
 
Lodesani also met with officials of the National Risk Management Secretariat (SNGR) to discuss about the joint work in emergency preparedness and response. The SNGR and WFP will develop a work plan under their current partnership. Both organizations will explore the possibility of complementing the immediate attention of the emergency-affected population with a ready-to-eat product, that could be produced with local foods like plantains or manioc.
 
WFP works in Ecuador in coordination with the national government and local authorities on nutritional and food security initiatives, nutrition training, assistance of vulnerable groups with an emphasis on women, climate change adaptation and emergency preparedness and response.