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644982
01/28/2015 - 22:12

The visit took place in the municipalities Niceto Perez and El Salvador where WFP is developing a project, funded by the Canadian Government, to strengthen the bean value chain and thus support a more sustainable social safety net.

Canadian representatives confirmed the importance of the project and appreciated the strong commitment of local actors and WFP to ensure the success of the initiative.

Project Planned to Benefit 61,000 Cubans in Matanzas and Guantanamo
The project, which began operation in March of 2014, is scheduled to last three years and will benefit more than 61,000 people in Matanzas and Guantánamo. With a total cost of approximately US$ 2.5 million, this project is aimed at enhancing local production and purchase of beans as an incentive for increasing food production in Cuba. “These tools have allowed us to not only optimize the production of beans but of our overall agricultural productivity,” said Jesús Manuel Tibio, president of the CCS “Guillermo Castro”.

The project also inspires to create efficient management models that facilitate effective bean production for schools, nurseries, elderly nursery homes and maternity homes.

Women Empowerment
Utilizing the strengths of Cuban women, the project includes the implementation of specific strategies to reduce the gender gap, empowering women and advancing their participation and involvement in cooperatives.
During the tour, the delegation visited the Credit and Service Cooperatives (CCS) of both municipalities where farmers and managers stressed the positive impact of the project thus far.

During the tour, the Canadian delegation of DFATD officials based in Ottawa and Havana – also visited the Beneficiation Plant Seed, responsible for ensuring quality seeds to producers, and meetings with initiative local collaborating institutions and municipal government officials that explained expectations and forecasted results for the coming years.

HAVANA. --Knowledge management and cost management acquired by farmers and managers of cooperatives was one of the aspects that most impressed the delegation of the Ministry of  Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) of Canada who recently visited World Food Programme (WFP) projects in the province of Guantánamo.

644979
01/28/2015 - 16:51
Climate Change

CCAFS brings together the world's best researchers in agricultural, climate, environmental and social sciences to identify and address the most important interactions, synergies and trade-offs between climate change and agriculture. 

R4: Protecting Livelihoods And Building Resilience 

R4 was launched by WFP and Oxfam America in 2011, with support from Swiss Re, building on the ground-breaking work of Oxfam and partners, including the Relief Society of Tigray and Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society.  

R4 helps vulnerable rural households to increase their food security through community risk reduction, microinsurance, livelihoods diversification, credit and savings. The most innovative aspect of R4 is the ability of poor famers to pay for their insurance with their labor on activities that reduce the impact of drought and floods, and increase their productivity.   

With the protection of insurance, when a drought hits, farmers receive automatic insurance pay-outs. This prevents them from selling off productive assets like livestock to survive or taking their children out of school.  In 2012, more than 12,000 drought-affected households received an insurance pay-out of over US$ 320,000. This is the first time that a weather index insurance programme in Ethiopia has directly delivered pay-outs at such a large scale to small farmers. 

WFP And Weather Insurance

Weather insurance is a powerful tool to help people to better manage climate risk.  

Since 2006, WFP has worked with its partners to test and scale up innovative ways of providing insurance protection to help people become more resilient and food secure.  R4 is one of the most successful initiatives emerging from this work.  

Exceptional Scale-Up

In Ethiopia R4 expanded from 200 farmers in one pilot village in 2009 to more than 25,000 across 89 villages in 2014. In 2012, R4 expanded to Senegal and implementation started this year in Malawi and Zambia.

The Evidence Shows It’s Working

The first assessment of R4 in Ethiopia shows insured farmers save 123% more than the uninsured, buy 25% more oxen and invest in seeds, fertilizer and productive assets. In one cluster, farmers increased their reserves of grain over 250% more than uninsured farmers.

Women, like Binta and Zemada, often heading the poorest households, are the ones achieving the largest gains in productivity, through investments in labor and improved planting materials.

What’s Next?

Given the results and the growing evidence WFP and its partners are working to scale up R4. By 2017, we hope to have reached 100,000 farmers with insurance and other risk management tools. 

 

The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) has released a study demonstrating that weather-based index insurance can help the rural poor on a large scale to become more food secure. The report features WFP and Oxfam America’s R4 Rural Resilience Initiative (R4) as one of the five most significant efforts to expand insurance coverage to people who need it the most.

644903
01/28/2015 - 16:08

WFP, along with the CFPA, joined the Internet giant Tencent  in a campaign to engage online users and raise money for WFP’s Ebola response operation – and to say they smashed it would be an understatement. Between midnight on December 23rd and midnight on December 24th, 105,803 individual netizens in China joined the campaign to make a donation, setting a new fundraising record for the most individual donations on a single online platform in 24 hours. 

The money raised, totalling US$194,958 will go directly to WFP’s emergency operations in the three countries worst affected by Ebola – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. To date, WFP has been moving aid supplies throughout the region and has fed 2.7 million people, including patients, survivors and those under quarantine, to help affected communities, contain the disease and support people’s transition of out crisis.


Mariatu Kargbo (left), Global Cultural Ambassador of Republic of Sierra Leone, Brett Rierson, the Representative of WFP China, and Rowan Simons, President of Guinness World Records Greater China holding a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS certificate for most individual donations for a campaign on a single online platform in 24 hours.

“Every contribution from Tencent QQ users will make a difference to families in West Africa dealing with this terrible disease,” said Jay Aldous, WFP’s Director for Private Sector Partnerships. “WFP is overwhelmed by the generosity of the Chinese people and for their reaction to this campaign, which has been fundamental in raising further awareness of the agency’s Ebola operations world-wide.”

Yin Yu, Vice President of Tencent also highlighted the power of technology as a tool for future fundraising, saying that the campaign underlines Tencent’s commitment to continue to look at how technology can be used as a force for good around the world.

In response to the campaign, Global Cultural Ambassador of the Republic of Sierra Leone Mariatu Kargbo, said: “Can you imagine, that’s more than 100,000 personal messages of love from China that arrived in West Africa on Christmas Day. And now it helps WFP provide nearly 400,000 meals to the most affected families. Thank you, China.”

The World Health Organisation recently announced that 18,603 cases and 6,913 deaths have been reported by the health ministries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. This ground-breaking fundraising campaign will allow WFP to continue pushing forward in the fight against Ebola.

You can still donate to help support those affected by the Ebola crisis in West Africa

 

What happens when you combine a hundred thousand individuals, the World Food Programme, the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA) and one of the world’s largest Internet companies? They set a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORD within a day!

644977
01/28/2015 - 15:14

Now Fatou’s life has changed for the better.  Her village is one of 16 in the Koumpountoum community that qualified for innovative agricultural assistance from WFP and OXFAM America’s R4 Rural Resilience Initiative  project, which supports the Senegal Government’s resilience policy. 

Because of difficult and uncertain climate conditions during the 2014-2015 crop cycle, 300 producers received insurance payouts from WFP, protecting their income, their crops, and their environment.

Aware of the negative impact of deforestation on the local environment, Fatou welcomed the joint initiative which helped her family in the lean season.

The R4 Initiaive motivated Fatou and her family to take part in activities to strengthen their community’s resilience to climate change and disasters, such as establishing stone bunds, dredging ponds, and developing their lowland areas to improve local production. Assets built through R4 risk reduction activities promote resilience by steadily decreasing vulnerability to disaster risks over time.

“Last year, my husband and I helped to construct a 730-meter-long dam, which earned us WFP support.  With WFP assistance, we could cope with the lean season by buying rice, oil, soap, and salt from the shop in the village.”

Fatou and her husband also carried out individual projects, like creating a compost station and planting vetiver to provide natural fertilizer and fight soil erosion.

In 2014 about 2,000 producers in 16 villages enrolled in the Risk Transfer (insurance) component of R4 project.  Koundiaw Souare was the only village which experienced the kind of challenges that triggered payouts for its farmers.

The people in the Tamba region were the first beneficiaries of the programme which started in Senegal in 2012. It was followed by a pilot phase in Koussanar in 2013. Ingeborg Maria Breuer, WFP Senegal Country Director, welcomed the enthusiasm of the rural communities for the R4 Initiative.

“In 2015, WFP and Oxfam America have strengthened their partnership to show our technical and financial partners that we can quickly finalize this initiative, triple our targets, and mentor 18,000 participants in the groundnut basin – specifically in the areas of Kaffrine, Kaolack, and Fatick,” said Breuer after the payout process. 

Senegal is the second country after Ethiopia to establish this particular initiative to build the resilience of rural communities.  In 2014, R4  activities in Senegal were expanded to Tambacounda, Koumpentoum, Kolda, and Medina Yero Foulah.

The R4 Rural Resilience Initiative (R4) is a comprehensive risk management approach to help communities be more resilient to climate variability and shocks. Currently active in Senegal and Ethiopia, WFP is also piloting the initiative in Malawi and Zambia with a goal of reaching 100,000 insured farmers by 2017. The Initiative combines four risk management strategies: improved resource management through asset creation (risk reduction), insurance (risk transfer), livelihoods diversification and microcredit (prudent risk taking) and savings (risk reserves).

 

Fatou Ba is a 22-year-old mother of four and lives with her family in the small village of Koundiaw Souare, 100 kilometers from the town of Tambacounda in Senegal.

“My husband is a farmer, and when the growing season was not good for the year, he fed our family by selling firewood.”

As in many rural communities in Africa, she and her family live in a fragile, disaster-prone area and depend on agriculture for their livelihood. When the rain comes too early, or too late, the desperate measures they resort to can further degrade their environment, exposing them to greater climate risk.

644962
01/27/2015 - 12:15

At the dawn of the post-2015 development agenda, the global health community is rallying around the “ending of AIDS by 2030”, a goal that now appears within reach. With the power of antiretroviral therapy (ART) to both extend the lives of people living with HIV and prevent new infections, treatment has rightly been placed at the core of the strategy for moving forward.

But, with just 38 percent of adults in need of treatment actually on treatment, and increasing recognition of the difficulty in keeping people on treatment long-term, it is clear that critical barriers remain.  

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Simelane Sabelo (not his real name) tells the story of how WFP links with the national ART programme to deliver food to patients (also known as ‘Food by Prescription’), along with nutrition assessment, counseling and other support.

Every month, the Swaziland farmer takes home a bag of nutrient fortified corn soya blend which helps keep him healthy and acts as an incentive to stick to his treatment. The nutrition counseling Simelane received while in the programme opened his eyes to a new way of eating. “Before, I just ate. I didn’t care what it was,” he says.

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The programming guide for policy makers and practitioners, entitled “Nutrition assessment, counseling and support for adolescents and adults living with HIV,” demonstrates how many barriers can be addressed with effective food and nutrition interventions.

The guide uses nutrition assessment, counseling and support (NACS) as an organizing framework and elaborates on how each of those components can be integrated into HIV programmes. Importantly, it recommends that assessment and counseling should be part of HIV care for everyone, worldwide, irrespective of nutritional status, treatment and food insecurity.

Biologically, nutritional recovery is essential for patients starting on ART with a low body weight (body mass index <18.5), as they are 2-6 times more likely to die during the first six months of treatment than those with a normal body weight.

As a behavioral intervention, particularly in food-insecure settings, food support—whether in-kind or as cash or vouchers—may provide the critical safety net needed to prevent patients from having to choose between a bus ride to the clinic to receive treatment or a meal to fill empty stomachs.  

The guide considers a range of context-specific programme components, such as community involvement, whether household food support is needed to complement individual support, and referrals to broader social protection or safety net measures to strengthen livelihoods.

WFP hopes this guide will advance the comprehensive integration of food and nutrition in HIV and TB strategies and programmes.

A new programming guide on food and nutrition in the context of HIV and Tuberculosis published by WFP together with UNAIDS and PEPFAR/USAID describes why food and nutrition support is an essential component of prevention, treatment, care and support of people living with HIV and discusses how to integrate it into programmes. 

644953
01/27/2015 - 11:41

Magibi County, Liberia - When people began dying in Liberia as Ebola spread through the country last year, Sister Maria felt compelled to do something. 

The Brazilian-born nun called on the volunteers who usually work with her on HIV-AIDS awareness and they started to go from house to house, and one community to another, to advise people on how to protect themselves and their families from the deadly virus. 


Sister Maria moved to Liberia in 1978. Photo:WFP/Donaig Le Du

Sister Maria's List

As efforts to combat the spread of Ebola started to bear fruit and case numbers dropped,  Sister Maria was faced with a new challenge. She realized that many children had lost one or both of their parents to the disease. 

So Sister Maria made lists, just a few sheets of paper with the stark details that tell the story of an unfolding tragedy. Three villages, dozens of families, 541 kids under 17.


Dolo’s Town. Food distribution for orphans and caretakers. Photo:WFP/Donaig Le Du

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A drama affecting the most vulnerable

"This outbreak has left our people broken, physically and psychologically,” Sister Maria said. "2014 has been a year of tears". 

Most children are cared for by their remaining parent or a family member. Many were very poor before the outbreak and now are dealing with even greater demands. Many families have seen their incomes and livelihoods affected and need help.

“I once met a lady who had taken 22 children into her house,” Sister Maria recalled. “She stood before me, she did not speak but I saw the tears running down her cheeks. She just could not figure out how she was going to provide for so many children.” 

WFP food arrives: "What a relief!"

[quote|"This outbreak has left our people broken, physically and psychologically"]Sister Maria has been living in Liberia for 37 years and now calls the country home. She was thrilled when WFP provided food for the first time to “Sister Maria’s orphans” just after Christmas. It was a huge relief for the nun and the volunteers who work with her, together with the Red Cross and the Liberian authorities. 


Dolo’s Town. Offloading food supplies from the trucks. Photo:WFP/Donaig Le Du

The second distribution took place on a hot day at the end of January. When the truck carrying WFP food rations for the orphans and caretakers families finally arrived in the dusty school yard where Sister Maria, the kids and their families had gathered, the Brazilian nun was moved.

Gratitude for the donors

[quote|“They don’t know us and they don’t know how much good they are doing. Today, you took my nightmare away.”]“Can you please thank the donors for me?” she said. “They don’t know us and they don’t know how much good they are doing. Today, you took my nightmare away.”

WFP is supporting the medical response to the Ebola emergency by providing food to families and communities affected by the outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The organization has distributed food to more than 2.7 million people in the three most affected countries since April including 768,000 people in Liberia.

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Here's the story of Sister Maria and 541 "Ebola orphans". Thanks to her work and the food provided by WFP, these children have now found an alternative source of sustenance after their parents have passed away.

644939
01/26/2015 - 11:09

1. 41 percent of Yemenis are food insecure – a total of 10.6 million people.

2. This includes 5 million severely food insecure and 5.6 million moderately food insecure.

3. This represents a slight improvement since 2011, when 45 percent of the population was food insecure.

4. The most food insecure governorate is Sa’ada, where 40 percent of people are severely food insecure.

5. Rural households are much more food insecure than urban dwellers.

6. Female-headed households are more food insecure than male-headed families.

7. Households headed by illiterate people are more food insecure than others.

8. The national global acute malnutrition rate is 12.7 percent, compared to 13 percent in 2011

9. The national stunting rate fell from 46.6 percent in 2012 to 41.3 percent in 2014.

10. Stunting rates are at a critical level in 10 governorates, at a serious level in eight, and at a poor level in two. Only one governorate (Mareb) reports an acceptable level*

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[donation-form] *According to WHO classification, acceptable is below 20 percent, poor is between 20 percent and 29.9 percent, serious is 30 percent to 39.9 percent, and critical is 40 percent and above.

Hunger is a huge issue in Yemen. Please help WFP raise awareness by sharing the following ten hunger facts:

644846
01/20/2015 - 11:12
Responding to Emergencies

The muddy water spreads like a sheet of dirty glass over the landscape. From the air, a limit to the flood can be seen where the waters reach some low hills. Details emerge as one looks down on the watery vastness: here and there the canopy of a tree, the straw or corrugated iron roofs of some huts, a pirogue with three figures in it. Through it all snakes a road or what was once a road. No travel except by boat is possible in this vast inland lake.

A national disaster 

Floods have submerged huge swathes of Malawi, particularly in the south. They were caused by rains which started at the end of last year and accelerated in early January. In the first few weeks of the New Year, southern Malawi received 400 percent higher rainfall than average. On 13 January, the President of Malawi declared a national disaster in 15 districts. The Shire River is at a 30-year high and many roads have been cut.

 
WFP food being unloaded for people living in a school after being flooded out of their homes in Chikwawa district.  Photo by: WFP/Innocent Njara

Dozens of people have drowned, some eaten by crocodiles carried into villages by the flowing waters. As rivers burst their banks, many sought safety in trees and on the roofs of their homes. More than 120,000 people are estimated to have been displaced and now live in schools or makeshift camps with whatever belongings they have been able to salvage. 

Under the co-ordination of the Government of Malawi’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs, the World Food Programme has been gearing up to reach all those affected by the floods, particularly the displaced. WFP began its food distributions in Chikwawa within days of the flood waters rising and next started moving to help those in Nsanje, Phalombe and Mulanje districts.

Distributing food to displaced families

Displaced families have been receiving a mixture of maize, beans, vegetable oil and Super Cereal (corn soya blend which can be made into a porridge). The commodities are coming from in-country stocks destined for assistance to vulnerable people during the lean season and need to be replaced as soon as possible to maintain this vital lifeline. 


With their homes inundated, these families have been forced to seek refuge in Mikolongo school in Chikwawa district which now shelters more than 200 households. Photo:WFP/Dannie Phiri

[quote|“Crowds in Malawi are generally energetic, even laughing. This time, it was quiet. I could tell they were exhausted and week” Elton Mgalamadzi, WFP Programme Officer]

“When we arrived at Mikolongo School in Chikwawa, there were more than a thousand people camping there,” said WFP Programme Officer Elton Mgalamadzi. “I could tell they were exhausted and weak. Crowds in Malawi are generally energetic, even laughing. This time, it was quiet.” 

This food assistance was the first relief that the displaced people at Mikolongo had received since the floods hit. 

More people in need, you can help

[donation-form|2015-wfp-malawi-countrypage|2015-wfp-malawi-countrypage|631]On 19 January, WFP airlifted 77 metric tons of High-Energy Biscuits from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Dubai, enough to meet the needs of some 77,000 people. These fortified ready-to-eat biscuits are being prioritised for the worst hit areas of Nsanje and Chikwawa districts where the most vulnerable people have been displaced from their homes and have no access to food or cooking facilities. 

With access still a challenge, all modes of transport including helicopters and shallow-draught boats are being deployed to move food to where it is most needed. It is likely that the numbers of those needing assistance will continue to rise. 

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It is estimated that floods have left scores dead and more than 100,000 people displaced from their homes in Malawi. The World Food Programme started food distributions in some of the worst-affected areas within days of the President of Malawi declaring a disaster in 15 of the country's 28 districts. 

644832
01/19/2015 - 18:17

“But here, our situation has improved. We have food every month, and the children go to school,” said Mariam. 

With 22,500 CFA of food coupons, Mariam bought sugar, flour, corn, oil, sardines, Maggi cubes, tomatoes, and onions from a store in Gore. 

These food coupons represent a radical change in the way humanitarian organizations like WFP operate in Chad.  Through their purchases at local markets, Mariam and the many Central African returnees in Chad participate indirectly in the economic development of the country.

WFP’s food coupons are ready to use, so that beneficiaries can exchange them for food at selected local merchants.  With a budget of USD 56 million, the coupons will be a priority in 2015 for WFP in Chad.  The objective is to respond better to the needs of the beneficiaries, and include local partners to contribute to the local economy.  And it is cost-effective:  studies in Chad indicate that the “real” cost of an individual food basket in local markets is half as expensive as a basket of food delivered by WFP. 

In order to prepare this large-scale intervention for 2014, WFP initiated a pilot project, which assisted 4,400 households in the Guera and Batha regions after the October harvest, in late 2013. Surveys of beneficiaries indicated that they preferred cash transfers to food distributions:  it puts people in a more active role in choosing and planning their diet.  Beneficiaries even become partners through a feedback system for the quality and variety of products offered, or to note when problems occur during transactions.   

WFP is carefully navigating the challenges presented with this type of programme:  it is complicated to navigate partnerships with traders, technical and practical skills of partners, and ensure that there is regular monitoring to avoid destabilizing the prices in Chadian markets.

However, the project has been quickly and effectively  implemented.  At the end of March 2014, WFP began the first large-scale distribution of food coupons to meet the growing needs for humanitarian intervention for people from Central African Republic.  In December 2014, WFP finalized the seventh distribution of coupons for 67,000 people in the Southern region and 188,000 vulnerable Chadians during the lean season in the Eastern region of the country.  WFP is supporting the Chadian government in leading the way for national autonomy.  Thanks to the cash voucher program, WFP is assisting in developing long-term means for resilience and food autonomy at a national level.

Mariam, 22, a returnee to Chad from Central African Republic, arrived in Gore with a Chadian convoy in February 2014.  In CAR, she managed a small business with her husband, recharging mobile telephones.  Now, however, she has no more family in Chad, as her parents moved long ago to CAR. 

644801
01/19/2015 - 10:41

1.    Most of the country’s 6.7 million hungry people live in five conflict-affected provinces in the east. 

2.    Almost half of the country's children under 5 are stunted (short for their age).

3.    23% of children under the age of five and 14% of women are underweight.

4.    Due to ongoing conflict in the DRC and the region, there are 2.7 million internally displaced people (IDPs) and 120,000 refugees in the country. 

5.    Between 2013 - 2014, 1.8 million IDPs returned to their areas of origin, often to find that their houses, schools and possesions had been looted or destroyed. 

6.    Three million children under five suffer from acute malnutrition.

7.    47% of children under the age of five and 38% of women suffer from anaemia.

8.    More than half a million pregnant or breastfeeding women suffer from acute malnutrition.

9.    The highest percentage of food insecure people (64%) can be found in the agricultural sector which accounts for three quarters of the country’s total workforce. 

10.    In 2014, WFP assisted nearly 1.8 million vulnerable people in the DRC. 

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Did you know the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the poorest countries in the world? Help us raise awareness by sharing these ten sobering facts: