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On World Food Day, WFP Says Investment In Nutrition Is Key To Unlocking A Better Future

ROME/KIGALI– The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is marking World Food Day on 16 October by highlighting the power of nutrition to transform individuals, societies and economies, and the need to make it central to all development efforts. 

“Undernourished girls and boys face barriers in health, in school performance and later, in the workplace, which limit their human potential and their capacity to contribute to the societies in which they live,” said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin. 

“Prioritising nutrition today is an investment in our collective global future.  The investment must involve food, agriculture, health and education systems,” she said.

Today some 842 million people - more than one in eight people in the world – suffer from chronic hunger. Yet even more – around two billion people - lack the vitamins and minerals needed to live healthy lives. 

If the global community invested US$1.2 billion per year for five years on reducing micronutrient deficiencies, the benefits in better health, fewer child deaths and increased future earnings would generate gains worth US$15.3 billion.

“Here in Rwanda, WFP is providing direct food assistance to close to 200,000 , including refugees and the primary school children under the country programme in the two districts of  Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru . The refugees are mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most of them have been in Rwanda for almost two decades  and are entirely dependent on WFP food,” said WFP Rwanda Country Director, Jean-Pierre de Margerie. 

WFP also provides additional food supplements to malnourished children, and pregnant and lactating mothers to bolster their nutritional status, he added. 

The theme of this year’s World Food Day is “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition.”  

Providing food assistance to 97 million people worldwide, here are some of the ways WFP focuses on nutrition:

•    Rapidly increasing the number of children and new mothers who receive new nutritionally enhanced food products.
•    Focusing on the crucial 1,000-day window – from the womb to two years of age – when getting sufficient nutrients and calories is crucial for full growth. 
•    Stepping up assistance through cash and vouchers when food is available in markets, so consumers can buy more fresh and varied local foods.
•    Emphasising dietary diversity and fresh foods in its school feeding programmes, by working with local communities and farmers.
•    Working with private partners and research institutes to assess the nutritional impact of providing fortified rice in school meal.
•    Supporting the creation of a solid evidence base to guide countries in their nutrition policies and strategies, such as the recent Cost of Hunger in Africa study, led by the African Union  

To learn more about WFP’s nutrition work in Rwanda, visit our dedicated country page:

“WFP will continue to work alongside Rwanda’s government and other UN agencies to reduce chronic malnutrition in the most food-insecure areas by  enriching children’s diets. The country programme will help strengthen local food production and boost consumption of nutritious and safe foods in rural areas” said de Margerie. 

WFP celebrates World Food Day with its sister UN food agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).  
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide.  Last year, WFP reached more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance.

Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media  and @wfp 

For more information please contact (email address:
John Paul Sesonga, WFP/Rwanda 
Tel: +250 2525877611-15, Mob.  (+250) 0788614698