Sign up today to join our online community, receive email alerts, and make a difference!
Cancel

Stories

A unique view of all the ways WFP is assisting millions of people worldwide.
Subscribe

642727
08/18/2014 - 22:24
Aid professionals

Mario Sibrian is the World Food Programme Regional Air Safety Officer in Nairobi, but he is currently based in Juba, the capital city of the youngest nation: South Sudan, a country ravaged by conflict and food insecurity, and one of the five largest WFP emergency operations in the world.

He is a retired Honduran Air Force Major and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of San Pedro Sula. He firmly believes that the combination of these professional areas have allowed him to carry out his duties in WFP’s large scale emergency operations. He was involved in humanitarian initiatives in Post-war Iraq (2003), the Mozambique Floods (2003 and 2008), the devastating tsunami that hit Asia (2005), the Pakistan Earthquake (2005), the Cyclones in Madagascar (2009 and 2010), the Haiti Earthquake (2010), the Pakistan Floods (2010) and the Haiyan Typhoon in the Philippines (2013).

“I met Mario for the first time during the Haiti operation in 2010,” said WFP Air Transportation Officer, German Puente, in Bentiu/Rubkona, South Sudan. “He worked very hard with us to instruct crews on how to operate in a hostile environment. On another occasion, in Pakistan, we were asked to facilitate the assembly of three helicopters to operate as soon as possible. Without his assistance and capacity, it would have taken much longer to start the air support.”

Working in the most high risk operations, delivering food in an extremely congested airspace and in the most difficult weather conditions, transporting the injured, managing air operations or working in the most dangerous airports in the world, has not stopped Mario to fulfill the mandate of the World Food Programme.

"Working with WFP is very rewarding and satisfying personally and professionally. I have been given the opportunity to contribute my knowledge and experience in the field of aviation and business administration, for the benefit of humanity," he said.

Mario thanks God for the opportunity, and is grateful to WFP and the donor community for supporting him and his colleagues with resources to carry out their humanitarian mission to deliver food and bring relief to communities in need.

To help those who are in need has been part of a legacy that his father, a physician, sewed in his heart when he was a child. Mario Sibrian, a Honduran national working in South Sudan for WFP Aviation, has been living up to his father's legacy for the last 14 years. That is his driving force behind his commitment to humanitarian assistance during the tsunami in Asia, the Haiti Earthquake and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

642539
07/31/2014 - 23:48
Focus on Women

1. The week begins with a series of talks done by different people from different institutions and companies.

Companies gather and share their experiences on the topic of “mothers and breastfeeding”. The goal of the talks is to work as an incentive for companies, to create safe spaces where mothers can breastfeed their children and places in the workplace where mothers can breast pump and store their milk. (Copyright: WFP/Tayra Pinzon)

2. Then the Annual Family Fair called: La Gran Tetada (The Breastfeeding Fest) takes place

In this family fair, mothers from all over Panama bring their babies to Parque Omar to learn and share experiences of breastfeeding.  Mothers’ breastfeed their children together, while listening to educational talks on how to properly breastfeed children, effective techniques of breastfeeding, and the importance of breastfeeding. (Copyright: Comisión Nacional de Fomento a la Lactancia Materna)

3. Mass Media Promotes Breastfeeding in TV and Radio

All media networks are connected this week to broadcast information about breastfeeding. Most interview people in the government, health institutions, or medical facilities. The objective is to reach as many persons possible, all over the country and in the most remote areas. (Copyright: Comisión Nacional de Fomento a la Lactancia Materna)

4. Baby Care-packages are delivered!

Panama provides baby care-packages, which include baby shampoo, baby wipes, baby powder, baby everything! They deliver these in different facilities while providing mothers with educational pamphlets and talks about proper breastfeeding. (Copyright: WFP/Tayra Pinzon)

5. Finally the Closing Ceremony Takes Place in a Hospital that Has a Breast Milk Bank

A Breast Milk Bank is a center where human milk, donated by selected mothers, is received, stored, and distributed to children that do not count with milk from their own mother. Because Panama only has a limited amount of these facilities. The goal of hosting the closing ceremony in the hospital is to promote Breast Milk Banks. (Copyright: WFP/Tayra Pinzon)

From the 1st to the 7th of August, Breastfeeding Week is all about promoting breastfeeding to teens, mothers, institutions, private sector, and organizations. Breastfeeding can change the course of a child’s life!
In Latin America, WFP in Panama is a big fan of breastfeeding because of its important effects on nutrition. Therefore they support the National Commission for Breastfeeding to raise as much awareness during this week.

Here is how Panama raises awareness on Breastfeeding:

 

642500
07/30/2014 - 17:35
School Meals

It may not be the best school in the world. Some of the classrooms at Mangindrano have no windows. Pupils have to sit on the floor because there are no seats. Up to 100 pupils from different grades share the same classroom and teacher.

What the school lacks in resources, however, is at least partly made up for by the dedication of some of the teachers who occasionally buy chalk out of their own money. Such is the reality of schooling in Bealanana district in northwestern Madagascar and in many of the island’s poorer areas.  

School feeding may not have all the answers in cases of such deprivation but it can do a lot to improve the lot of disadvantaged children. That is why the Government of Madagascar is investing so much in setting up a national school feeding programme, prioritizing the south where the lowest school enrolment rates and the highest levels of food insecurity are found.
 
"Such a programme is an incentive to attract and keep children at school while providing them the nutrients and energy needed to concentrate in class” explains Volahaingo Marie Thérèse, a parliamentarian from Bealanana.  
School meals promote access to education, improve the nutritional status and health of children, and help break the cycle of hunger and poverty afflicting poor areas. By procuring where possible from smallholder farmers associations, school meals also boost local agricultural production and help the economy.

WFP is supporting the government in the development of a national school feeding programme in Madagascar. A workshop - organized in Antananarivo in mid-July by the Ministry of Education, the World Bank, the Partnership for Child Development and WFP - was the first step in the development of this programme. The process is conducted in line with SABER (System Approach for Better Education Results), an education policy tool developed specially by the World Bank and WFP.

“A national school feeding programme is one of the fundamental values of the General State Policy,” said Prime Minister Kolo Roger at the closing of the workshop. “The action plan resulting from the workshop should be implemented with unequivocal commitment from the Government and renewed commitment from our partners.”

WFP implements a school feeding programme targeting 220,000 beneficiaries in southern Madagascar. For 2014 -15, World Bank funds are helping provide daily hot meals to 107,000 children. US$ 3.5 million are needed to assist the remaining 113,000.  
 
WFP is continuing to mobilize resources to be able to continue the programme in the south and expand it to other regions where it can make a difference.

 

Antananarivo – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) supports the development of a national School Feeding programme in Madagascar which will hopefully help improve the education sector as a whole.   

642415
07/22/2014 - 18:44
Nutrition

Yabom Sesay, a woman in her fifties, has traveled over eight miles to the Songo health center from her village in the Port Loko district of northern Sierra Leone. Like many mothers and caretakers of malnourished children, she makes the trip to the clinic every Wednesday to receive food supplies and other services for her seven-month-old grandson Essa.

Essa’s mother, Isatu, died of tooth infection shortly after giving birth, and his father, a tailor, is unable to support him. This has left Sesay, a widowed grandmother, alone to care for Essa and his two siblings. She sells cake to support herself and her grandchildren.

“It has not been easy for me, especially since the children’s father has not been supportive,” she says with tears in her eyes as sweat-drenched Essa sleeps on her lap.

With limited resources available, Sesay used to give Essa powdered milk, but he became severely malnourished and sick at the age of six months. After a month of treatment through the health center’s Outpatient Therapeutic programme, he was enrolled in the center’s Supplementary Feeding Programme, designed to provide continued support for patients with moderate acute malnutrition. Through this programme, children like Essa receive rations of sugar, oil and super cereal plus—an improved corn-soya blend enriched with micronutrients—from WFP to help them recover.

Essa is now one year old and has been discharged from the programme.

“The food that Essa has been eating helped him to gain weight, and he has been healthy ever since,” Sesay proudly recalls. “Without support from WFP, Essa may not have made it.”

The Songo health center is one of 63 supplementary feeding centers in western Sierra Leone supported by WFP thanks to funding from the Government of Japan. Like many of these centers, Songo provides health and nutrition education in addition to vaccination, growth monitoring and supplementary feeding activities.

Malnutrition rates in Sierra Leone are among the highest in the world. Some 46 percent of child deaths in Sierra Leone are attributed to malnutrition, the leading cause of child mortality in the country, and 267 out of every 1,000 children die before their fifth birthday.  Malnutrition will be the primary cause of an estimated 74,000 child deaths during the next five years. If current levels of iodine deficiency do not improve over the next five years, 252,000 children could be born with varying degrees of mental retardation.

A total of 49,740 children are benefiting from the supplementary feeding programme across the country. The programme is vital to reducing malnutrition, and enriched foods provide vulnerable children the nutrients they need to thrive.

 

 

Malnutrition rates in Sierra Leone are among the highest in the world and the leading cause of child mortality in the country. In partnership with the Government of Sierra Leone, WFP is supporting malnourished children from the poorest households through a supplementary feeding programme, reaching 49,740 children across the country.  

 

642390
07/21/2014 - 19:57
Nutrition

While malnutrition is treatable, the disease can cause irreversible damage to the physical and mental development of a child. Children affected by malnutrition get sick more frequently and are less productive as adults.

The latest assessment in Burkina Faso, carried out by WFP in 2013, revealed a Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rate of 8.2 percent, with levels reaching 14 percent in some regions.

Due to high levels of malnutrition, nearly one in three children suffers from growth retardation. Eight in ten are anemic, as are more than half of pregnant women. Women deficient in iron face a high risk of dying during childbirth and may give birth to a child that will not reach the age of five.

Since 2013, WFP supports government efforts to prevent and treat moderate acute malnutrition. These interventions are carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Health through health centers and NGOs, to the benefit of vulnerable groups in seven of the twelve regions of the country where levels of acute malnutrition and household food insecurity are high.

To fight malnutrition, WFP treats moderate acute malnutrition among children less than five years of age with ready-to-use therapeutic foods, called Plumpy’sup. Wrapped in individual packages, these bars are made with peanut butter and are high in energy, protein and micronutrients. In addition, they can be eaten without cooking or other preparation, which helps to avoid illnesses caused by using dirty water. Pregnant women and nursing mothers receive flour made with grains and soy and rich in vitamins and minerals.

WFP also distributes food to women accompanying children hospitalized due to severe malnutrition and related complications. These rations encourage caretakers to stay with their children at health centers throughout treatment.

During the lean season, WFP also carries out a general food distribution programme targeting all children between six months and two years of age in areas where malnutrition levels are high.

WFP’s nutrition programme in Burkina is primarily financed by the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Germany, Australia and the Netherlands. Thanks to this support, the prevalence of severe acute malnutrition among children under five years of age has decreased, from 10.9 percent in 2012 to 8.2 percent in 2013.

This year, however, WFP was forced to scale back its activities due to a lack of funding. Zones of invention were reduced by 60 percent, excluding some 300,000 people from the programme. Malnutrition prevention activities are also compromised this year due to a lack of financing.

To continue efforts over the next six months, WFP requires USD 10.2 million. Without new contributions, all WFP nutrition interventions could be suspended as the lean season (July to September) begins.

Each year during the lean season—also known as the “hunger season”—the World Food Programme (WFP) carries out a number of activities in Burkina Faso to prevent malnutrition, efforts that have proven effective in the fight against hunger. Due to a lack of funding, however, the programme has been reduced and could be suspended completely this year.

642340
07/16/2014 - 12:17
Disaster Risk Reduction

Better preparedness measures deployed by the international community mean that these figures are on the decrease – but with floods, hurricanes, drought and conflict still claiming close to 10 million lives, more remains to be done.

The UK Department for International Development (DFID) is joining forces with the World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF as part of a disasters and emergencies preparedness programme, in a push to step up emergency preparedness - and limit the damage caused as a result of worldwide crises.

With a £20 million investment from DFID, WFP and UNICEF will scale up their disaster planning in 23 high-risk countries, where 17 million people are at risk from disasters, including 14 million women and children.

"Stretched to breaking point"

“There is a growing danger that while some countries are graduating from aid, others will be left behind,” said UK International Development Secretary Justine Greening when the plan was announced in April.

“The humanitarian system is already stretched to breaking point and we are facing ever more demands on the system, as we deal with the effects of a changing climate, growing population, conflict and extremism."

A team effort

Preparing for emergencies has always been a crucial part of WFP’s work but by partnering with other organisations and integrating efforts, greater protection will be provided to countries which have been significantly affected by natural and man-made disasters in the past - specifically Afghanistan, Chad, Indonesia, Madagascar, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine and the Philippines.

The humanitarian preparedness strengthening programme will focus on a number of core strategies including the pre-positioning of relief items and support equipment, the provision of expert training, simulation drills and monitoring of countries susceptible to disaster. WFP will also invest in innovative technology that can monitor and track disasters and provide more detailed risk analysis in disaster-prone regions.

It is widely recognised that being prepared for a disaster increases the effectiveness of humanitarian response and saves lives. For example, Bangladesh reduced casualties from 2 very comparable cyclones from 500,000 in 1972 to 3,400 in 2008.

 It also makes economic sense –every $1 invested in reducing the risk of disasters is saved several times in terms of emergency response and reconstruction.

 It may not be possible to prevent a disaster altogether, but by working with communities and humanitarian agencies to prepare, WFP can greatly reduce the negative effects of a disaster, saving lives and livelihoods.

Read more about how WFP is preparing for disasters.

DFID statement on disaster preparedness.

 

In 2013, a staggering number of people struggled to cope with the impact of conflict and natural disaster. The Syria conflict left 9.3 million people in need of urgent assistance, while Typhoon Haiyan killed nearly 6,000 people and destroyed over a million homes.

642328
07/16/2014 - 09:52
Focus on Women, Responding to Emergencies

BATOURI  -- Fatimatou and her children arrived in Cameroon in February. They are living in a small refugee camp at Yokadouma, just inside Cameroon’s eastern border.  Her husband died a few years ago but several members of her extended family are also in Yokadouma and assist her. She was happy to answer questions about her life.

What are the biggest changes in your life?

Having no money and very little to do. Back in our village in C.A.R., I had a stall at the local market. I used to sell tomatoes, onions, oil…things like that. So I was always busy.  And even though I wasn’t rich we were OK. I’d like to start up a small business like that here. It’s going to be hard because I spent all my money just getting here. But maybe I can find a way.

What else has changed?

Well my two girls aren’t going to school. It’s too far away for them to go on foot. We’d need someone to take them on a motorbike. And they couldn’t go alone. It’s a shame. School is a good thing, especially for girls. Another difference is how we sleep. Back home, there were six of us sleeping in the bedroom – me  and the children. Here there are 21 people in the same room.

Is it all bad?

No. At least we are away from the killing and fighting. And we have food to eat every day. We are thankful for that. And I have friends and family here to help me.

When did you come to Cameroon?

About five months ago. We left with a lot of other people from our village when the trouble started. There was a lot of tension and people were getting attacked. It was too dangerous to stay. To go faster, we paid for a car to come part of the way – that was very expensive.

What did you bring with you?

I managed to bring another dress, so I can change my clothes. Same for the children. We didn’t bring anything else. We had to leave everything behind.

Is there something you were especially sorry to leave? 

Yes, my set of new white dinner plates. I had enough for 20 people. I had just bought them and they were so beautiful. Who knows what’s happened to them now.

Are you going to return to CAR? 

What for? What am I going to do there with all the fighting that’s happening? If the fighting stops and things settle down…maybe, I don’t know. It depends on what the rest of my family does. They will decide. I just want to be where they are.

What would you say to anyone reading about you?

We all used to live together in CAR, Muslims and Christians. There was no problem.  Now we’re all fighting each other. It's stupid. Now people like us have had to leave everything behind. And come here, where we have to start all over again. War is bad. People should be able to live together.

Fatimatou Djara is one of over 100,000 people who have arrived in Cameroon this year, fleeing the vicious bloodletting in the Central African Republic.  She and her three children receive food from WFP every month. In this interview, she explains some of the changes that life as a refugee brings.

642252
07/10/2014 - 16:28

PERAMAGROON, Iraq – Umm Ibrahim gathers with her children and grandchildren inside a public school building in Peramagroon, where they are allowed to stay during the school’s summer break with permission from the Kurdistan region authorities. The family came here to escape bombing in their hometown of Samaraa.

Umm Ibrahim is among some 90,000 people who have been assisted by WFP after fleeing the violence that first hit Mosul and spread to surrounding cities and governorates in mid-June. The food she has received will keep her and her family fed for two weeks.

“I am very sad at our present circumstances. What are we supposed to do here? I want to go back to my hometown,” said Umm Ibrahim.  Nearby, her sons and grandchildren are huddled together - three generations of an Iraqi family displaced by violence in their home city.

One of Umm Ibrahim’s sons, Ismail, outlines the circumstances of their displacement. He explains that they left the garage where they took shelter in Samaraa and headed to Tikrit city in Salaheldin governorate before fleeing to the mountainous village of Peramagroon.  His daughter, eight-year-old Sarah, expresses her nostalgia for her hometown. 

“It is so hot; we need clean water to drink,“ said Sarah. “I want to return to Samaraa to play with my friends.”  Hundreds of families are displaced in Peramagroon following violence in Samaraa. Most of them currently have no source of income and depend entirely on the food delivered by WFP.

The organization plans to reach over 200,000 people displaced by Iraq’s recent conflict in coming weeks. Most of WFP’s food distributions so far have taken place in the Kurdistan region as well as in shelters and camps on the outskirts of Mosul. “The situation is very critical”, Ismail said.

When violence broke out in Samaraa city in Iraq’s Salaheldin governorate, Umm Ibrahim, an Iraqi woman in her eighties, took shelter with nine other family members inside a relative’s garage. Two nights later, they fled to Peramagroon district in the nearby Suleymaniyah governorate, where they now live inside a public school with twelve other displaced families.

642214
07/09/2014 - 02:52
School Meals

This anticipated meeting, scheduled more than a month ago, allowed the international officer to inform the First Lady of the Regional Bureau’s actions that aim to strengthen local programmes and projects that WFP has implemented in Honduras. The annual contribution of the agency in the country is that of 15 million dollars in programs and projects, destined assist approximately 400,000 of Honduras’s most impoverished people.

The Civil Servants discussed a number of important topics, including agroforestry projects and resiliency to climate change programmes, these projects assist families that are living with food insecurity,  such programmes act as a catalyst for development. Furthermore, a particular project that the Government of Honduras has highlighted the importance of is the School Feeding Programme, this programme does not only ensure that children are well nourished in school, but it strengthens the local economy. Products for the school meals are purchased from smallholder farmers.

To date, through WFP’s Purchase for Progress (P4P), 28 thousand metric tons of maize and beans have been purchased from smallholders for the Honduran Government’s School Feeding Programme.

The First Lady expressed her commitment to projects supporting the children of Honduras and her desire to strengthen these programmes and projects aimed at early childhood (first 1,000 days of life) development that WFP has been implementing in the country for several years, especially in the “dry corridor” region of Honduras.

Last week Honduran First Lady, Ana de Hernández, met with The World Food Programme (WFP)  Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Miguel Barreto,  and WFP Representative to Honduras, Pasqualina Di Sirio. The aim of the meeting was to strengthen the long-standing relationship that WFP has had with the Government of Honduras for over 40 years.

641980
07/04/2014 - 11:28
Responding to Emergencies

Nyumanzi -Three meals a day were a welcome relief to Adau Akuonan and her daughter Nyandeng after a long journey to safety -- fleeing fighting in South Sudan and seeking refuge in Uganda’s Adjumani district. 
The family left their home in Bor in Jonglei state, South Sudan during fighting that began in Juba in mid- December and spread to three states in the north of the country. Initially they moved around the state in search of a safe location, not planning on leaving their homeland, but when their home was set on fire, they began the long journey southward on foot. They carried few personal belongings with them.

Looking For Abandoned Buildings

Nyandeng Deng is one of Adau’s eight children and helps her mother with the younger kids as well as preparing the food they are provided with by WFP. “There was shooting everywhere,” says Nyandeng, “and there was a big gun stationed near our house. It was too dangerous to stay.”
Even though a relative sent them money to help during their journey, it was tough.  The family often walked entire days. As the sun set, they looked for abandoned buildings in which to sleep. They often begged for food and a younger children fell ill with a cough.  The family arrived in Uganda after ten days on the road.
“At Dzaipi (transit centre), we ate regular meals for the first time,” says Adau.

“We ate three meals a day, porridge in the morning, then beans and maize for lunch and supper,” Nyandeng explains.
The family has since been resettled by the government and UNHCR on land provided by the local community. They have built two huts covered with UN tarpaulin sheets, not far away from a source of water, also provided by humanitarian agencies.

Food Is The Priority

Adau says the most important things they have received since arriving in Uganda are the materials for erecting shelters, blankets, kitchen utensils, mosquito nets and plastic mats.
“But the food is number one, followed by water.” Nyandeng says emphatically.
“We like to eat meat and yam as well, and they are sold in the market,” adds Nyandeng “but our father does not have money to buy such. He comes home with them only once in a while.”

WFP is currently supporting more than 113,000 refugees who arrived from South Sudan since mid-December. WFP provides high energy biscuits at the border points, cooked meals at transit centres and then monthly food baskets. Each basket comprises of cereals, pulses, vegetable cooking oil, iodised salt and cereal fortified with vitamins and minerals. The government allocates the refugees pieces of land where they are allowed to cultivate food and build shelters. WFP food and nutrition assistance reduces as the refugees begin to provide for themselves on the allocated land.

 

Tens of thousands of refugees from South Sudan are arriving in transit camps and settlements in Uganda. Although they have found safety, food is their number one priority.