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


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

05/21/2015 - 16:24

Word had spread around the village that WFP would be trying to drop vegetable oil from the air. As the Ilyshin-76 cargo plane approached the village many people rushed out to see for themselves and there was excitement and cheers as the hatch of the plane opened releasing small orange parachutes attached to blue boxes.

Vegetable oil (fortified with vitamin A and D) is a key item that WFP provides to people it serves across the world, including in South Sudan. Normally, the agency moves this commodity by road or river to various parts of the country but when insecurity and poor roads hampers movement via land WFP resorts to moving this commodity by air.

Each month WFP has to move an average 300 metric tonnes of vegetable oil through helicopter airlifts into hard to reach areas, particularly in the states of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile which have been most affected by the conflict that has been raging in the country since December 2013.

“Airlifts have worked well but the quantity of oil we move at once by helicopters is quite small when you look at the scale of the need,” said Peter Schaller, WFP Chief of Logistics in South Sudan. “We could vastly improve our efficiency and save a lot of money with the delivery of oil through airdrops.”

In a bid to cut the use of helicopters for air delivery of vegetable oil by 50 percent, saving the operation a potential $14 million per year, the WFP logistics teams began working with the US-based company SkyLife in late 2014 to develop a system to airdrop the vegetable oil out of a plane flying 200 metres above the ground.

The system that was tested in Ganyiel involved two or three tins or plastic containers of oil wrapped in a bag and placed in a box with padding. Twenty eight boxes were stacked on top of a palette in the aircraft and when the hatch of the plane opened all the boxes left at once and a 60 inch parachute opened for each box. The parachute ensures the boxes land safely on the ground with minimum damage.

“It was the first time we were delivering oil by parachutes and everyone was very nervous but I must say it has been quite some success,” said Adham Effendi, WFP Logistics Officer who supervised the test of the innovative system. “We still need to improve the system to ensure minimal losses and operational efficiency but I am hopeful that in the next few months we would be doing several airdrops of oil.”

South Sudan is one of the most challenging places where WFP works and movement of commodities by road or river are often hampered by poor infrastructure or insecurity. Therefore it is vital that WFP finds innovative methods of delivery that match the cost and efficiency of more traditional methods.

Last year, WFP logistics teams in the country successfully trialled the airdrop of Super Cereal Plus – a specialised nutritious food used to prevent and treat malnutrition in children. This has since become a viable option for delivering this critical commodity in hard to reach areas where insecurity and limited infrastructure stalls movement by road or river transport.

GANYIEL – The villagers in Ganyiel, a small village surrounded by swampland in southern Unity State of South Sudan, have become accustomed to seeing planes airdrop bags of cereals and pulses but seeing vegetable oil falling from the sky was something new. This happened in May when the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) carried out its first successful airdrop of vegetable oil.

05/21/2015 - 13:26

70,000 children in 90 schools across the capital of CAR, Bangui, receive WFP school meals. The deworming campaign was launched this week at one of the schools - the Notre Dame Elementary School. The initiative is going to be rolled out in elementary schools across the country.

Conflict has left a heavy toll on the people of CAR. But more and more students return to school, and the classrooms are packed with students eager to learn. In this fifth grade math class, children are learning how to say what time it is  - adding together the hours and minutes on the clock.  Some of them are putting the lesson into practice already. Nadia (middle) says "I come to school because it is fun to learn, and also because of the meals we get every day!  It's only 11:00 am but I'm already counting down til lunch because the food is so tasty!"

Like many children who attend school at Notre Dame Elementary,12-year-old Eudoxie missed out on months of education during the conflict because it was too unsafe for children to make their way to school. Now that she is back at her desk, she is ready to start taking notes - and work towards her dream of being a scientist. “Even when school re-opened, my mother was worried about sending me because it could have been still dangerous. I hope Bangui stays safe so that I can continue coming! And now I can stay focused in classes with the hot meals we get at lunch time.” 


Time to line up! In the playground, children stand in line to receive their deworming tablets. Their crossed arms doesn't mean that they're angry to miss their recess - in the Central African Republic, crossed arms are the appropriate posture for students to take while they listen to their teachers to show that they are paying attention.

A WFP Programme Manager provides a deworming tablet to a student. One tablet is effective for six months, and makes children more resistant to infections. A healthy child can be more active in school and perform better academically. 

Children swallow the tablets with a cup of water whilst teachers ensuring the process follows good hygienic practices.

Each school has posters illustrating different parts of the WFP's school feeding programme.  Intrigued by the drawings, children gather around the posters even during recess.

In Central African Republic, the Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) does more than holding bake sales. Here, mothers from the PTA roll up their sleeves and prepare the school meals in the backyard for the students.

For many children, school meals are the only food that they eat during the day: this 9-year-old girl is eager to receive her portion. The meal includes rice, beans, oil, and salt. 

For eight-year-old Freddy, the daily meal that he receives at school is his main source of calories for the day. 

"Every day, I eat everything on my plate," he says, beaming.


Photos/text: WFP/Sayaka Sato

Many children in the Central African Republic suffer from intestinal worm infection. This can begin early in a child's life and it affects their health, nutritional status, and mental development. Though WFP's school meals are crucial, children cannot study when they are sick.  In collaboration with UNICEF and the Ministry of Education, WFP has just embarked on a deworming campaign as part of its school meals programme, aiming to improve the health of 250,000 children across the country.

05/19/2015 - 13:45

As part of WFP’s Operation Mountain Express, the mountaineers abandoned plans to climb one of the Himalaya peaks and instead have undertaken a relief mission by using their skills and training to help get food and other supplies to people in need.


Vital Team Effort

The team is completely self-sufficient, carrying their own food, equipment and medical supplies. They’re hiking in mountainous terrain from village to village assessing needs and then relaying these details via satellite phone back to WFP’s operations team.

This vital information link means WFP can dispatch food and other critically-needed relief items such as shelter to the right place in the right amount. WFP also gets a clear picture of the obstacles to overcome, such as landslides, in order to make sure the relief items can reach the village.

This week, the climbers are working in the Gorkha district which reaches up into the Himalayas and which was the epicentre of the 25 April quake. Their skills mean they can act as eyes and ears in remote, and often potentially dangerous areas, that are otherwise cut-off by landslides or sheer height. 

One of the team’s member is Canadian professional high altitude climber Don Bowie. “We are so proud that gains are being made, and progress is growing day by day. We truly hope we are able to keep this up, and able to gain access into all villages of the Gorkha district before monsoon season begins,” he wrote this week on his expedition blog.

"This is Where I Need to Be"

Also part of the team is Nuri, a Sherpa who was part of the original summit expedition and who stayed on to take part in the relief effort even though his own village, Solukhumbu, is among those devastated by the earthquake. He acts as an interpreter between the villagers and the mountaineers.

Nuri Sherpa, close up
Nuri Sherpa. Photo: Fenom Creative/Don Bowie

[quote|“We have asked him numerous times if he would like to go home and he repeatedly insists that he is needed where we are”]“We have asked him numerous times if he would like to go home and he repeatedly insists that he is needed where we are,” Bowie writes. “He speaks to his family every day. They are doing well and taken care of. We are overwhelmed by his hard work and humble spirit”.

As Operation Mountain Express continues, WFP is also using trucks, tractors and helicopters to bring food, shelter and other emergency needs to earthquake survivors in 11 badly-affected districts beyond Kathmandu Valley. So far WFP has provided food for more than 1.4 million earthquake survivors. 

WFP is in urgent need of funds to continue to help the people of Nepal. To make a donation, visit

Read more about what Don Bowie's team is doing for Nepal: NepalRelief

A team of elite mountain climbers is helping the UN World Food Programme (WFP) reach earthquake survivors in some of Nepal’s toughest mountain terrain, where helicopters and trucks can’t go.

05/18/2015 - 16:11

1) 92 percent of the population lives on less than US$2 a day.

2) Some four million people – 28 percent of the rural households - suffer from lack of food access.

3) Erratic rain, periodic drought and locust infestation compromise food production in southern Madagascar. Climate change is likely to exacerbate these natural hazards.

4) Communities in the south are expected to face a longer lean season this year due to drought - it could start as early as July (instead of the usual October - March period).

5) With stunting (low height for age) affecting 47 percent of children under five (two million children countrywide), Madagascar ranks fourth in the "Global Chronic Malnutrition" table. 

6) One third of women aged 15-49 and half of children under five suffer from iron deficiency which causes anaemia. 

7) Of every 1,000 live births, 62 result in children dying before they reach five years of age. Mortality rates are highest in rural areas. 

8) Nearly 500 women per every 100,000 live births die of pregnancy-related issues. High levels of anaemia contribute to the high mortality.

9) More than 26,000 cases of tuberculosis are detected each year. People living with tuberculosis are at a major risk of malnutrition which contributes significantly to increased mortality and morbidity.

10) Total life expectancy is 65.2 years. In women, life expectancy is 66.67 years and in men 63.77 years.


...Coming next week: 10 Facts About Hunger In Mauritania

Visit our hunger facts page

Here are ten facts that shed light on the hunger situation in MadagascarPlease help WFP raise awareness by sharing these important facts on Twitter. 

05/18/2015 - 13:25

The Food For Work programme participants - about 20 volunteers per school - have just started getting their food rations for their school cleaning work. An important exercise since some of the schools were used as centres for Ebola patients. People from all walks of life - traders, teachers, parents - stepped up to make sure the schools were cleaned, decontaminated and ready for the opening. In exchange, they received a one-month supply of rice and oil, and had the satisfaction of helping to rebuild their communities.

Josephine Kaikai 

“I am a small-scale merchant, with three children in school. As we approach the lean season, the food from WFP could not have come at a better time for us. Now I can feed my family, even as a single parent."

Steven Boima 

“As a teacher, I volunteered to clean the schools not only to get the kids safely back to school, but also to return to my job - which I have missed for the past eight months!  Food from WFP gives me a happy start in the school year."

Saffie Kaba 

"Cleaning the schools was definitely not an easy job, but my children are back to school and we have our food - what else could I ask for?"

Mabel Macauley 

“The food incentive from WFP is the first of its kind for me. It’s a good reward after working so hard to clean the schools for the children - and now they will be able to benefit from education too.”                   

Across the Western Area of Sierra Leone, which includes Freetown, about 5,000 volunteers have already received their ration for helping to prepare the schools.

WFP is preparing to resume its school feeding programme, aiming to reach about 300,000 children with a daily meal. 

Photos: Francis Boima/WFP Sierra Leone 

After eight months of closed doors in Sierra Leone, schools began to reopen across the country in mid-April. To ensure that children were able to return to clean and safe classrooms, thousands of volunteers embarked on a massive school cleaning exercise, reaching about 8,000 schools across the country. Their reward? Much needed food. All thanks to WFP's Food for Work proramme. 

05/18/2015 - 11:03
School Meals

Students line up at Djomga Primary School for breakfast, now enriched with locally produced yoghurt. Nearly 200 students attend this primary school.

Before they enter the classrooms for their breakfast, students wash their hands. WFP works closely with UNICEF to make sure that good hygienic practices are in place. 

Many students are from rural areas, and this is their first time that they are eating with spoons. With or without spoons, they are all eager to try out the yoghurt.

Nearby, this building houses the Dairy Unit, where members of the women's association Kossaim Nai Bodedji Dori turn milk into yoghurt for the students. The Ministry of Public Health provided the women with training whilst WFP food experts helped ensure that the product is of the highest quality, and production, storage and distribution measures are safe. Providing dairy products, which are among the preferred foods in this part of the country, will not only enrich children’s school meals but provide a market for vulnerable small-scale farmers and women’s groups to earn an extra income.

Ramata Inga, 11, is all smiles as she eats her yoghurt. "I used to drink milk, but it isn't as good as this! My friends and I love the yoghurt - we want to eat it every day."

[quote|"With the yoghurt, I can work harder to be successful and make my parents happy too."]Assane Sambo Dicko, 12, said that he prefers the yoghurt to the previous breakfast.

"It's fresh, and it's sweet. I'm very happy. With the yoghurt, I can work harder to be successful and make my parents happy too."  
Assane wants to finish his education and become a teacher.

With the joy visible on her students' faces, Agnes Meda, who teaches at the primary school, says that she appreciates the WFP initiative.

"Dairy is very important for children's growth. And it's liked by students. Distributing yoghurt should help with our attendance rates. I think we will see the return of students who had dropped out of school."

Increasing Enrolment Rates

WFP has been providing school meals in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso since 2004, serving daily breakfast and lunch to students. Girls also receive a monthly ration to take home to their families as an added incentive to encourage enrolment and keep them in school.

The results are already evident. Since 2006, enrolment rates have increased overall from 37 percent to nearly 50 percent in 2014, while for girls, enrolment has jumped from 32 percent to 48 percent in the same period.

Abel Aziz Dao, a government representative who oversees the management of the school canteens in the Sahel region, says that WFP’s new inititative is invaluable.

[donation-form]“WFP has played a crucial role in the educational system, enabling schools to grow, as without school canteens, there would be no schools in the Sahel. This project will help our children grow and develop healthily,” said Dao.

WFP’s initiative - supported by contributions from Canada, Luxembourg, and the Cartier Foundation -  is also helping to fight malnutrition in a region where families struggle to provide two daily meals to their children, and malnutrition rates are one of the highest in the country. 

In 2015, WFP plans to provide more than 127,000 children with one nutritious meal per day in 952 schools across Burkina Faso.

In May, the World Food Programme began distributing yoghurt as part of its school feeding programme in Dori, the capital of Burkina Faso's Sahel region - a region with the lowest school enrolment rates and highest malnutrition rates in the country. The initiative will benefit nearly 200,000 students across 12 schools, and it's a first not only in Burkina Faso, but across the West Africa region.

05/15/2015 - 17:16

The deterioration of the security situation in eastern Congo since the beginning of 2015 has been a source of serious concern for humanitarians in the field. There are 2.8 million internally displaced people in the DRC, one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world: the needs are immense and humanitarian workers are often required to access deep-field locations to assist the most vulnerable. 

[story|645119|644801]There are more than 40 armed groups active in the DRC and they regularly carry out attacks against civilians. Recently, these attacks have started to target humanitarian workers, including the UN. Armed groups move across large areas and their actions are unpredictable; humanitarian workers sometimes find themselves in a dangerous predicament and in these situation UNHAS is often called to the rescue.  

“Security and medical evacuations are in integral and necessary part of our services, in the same way as the daily transport of passengers of essential cargo for humanitarian assistance” says Sandra Legg, UNHAS’ Deputy Chief Air Transportation Officer, based in Goma.

Photo:WFP/Leonora Bauman

Extreme situations require swift responses

[quote|"We intervened within 24 hours to bring the victims to Goma and the body of the deceased to Bukavu"]During a mission in November 2014 to a village called Katwe in North Kivu, staff members of an international non-governmental organization were ambushed 200 kilometers away from their base and robbed of all their belongings. Fearing a second attack and aware that another humanitarian was killed in the same area some time earlier, they called for help. Not far away at about the same time, a humanitarian worker part of a different organization was also ambushed.

He was killed and his body left by the road. “After getting the call from the two NGOs’ focal points, we intervened within 24 hours to bring the victims to Goma and the body of the deceased to Bukavu," says Legg.

Such extreme situations require a quick and flexible response, especially for remote and isolated locations such as Katwe. It is under these circumstances that UNHAS deploys its helicopter, one of six aircraft in its fleet in the DRC. 

Photo:WFP/Leonora Bauman

Fighting Ebola in the Jungle 

Back in September 2014 when an Ebola epidemic was declared in the village of Boende in Equateur province, UNHAS and its partner Aviation Sans Frontières-France became critical actors in the national effort to prevent the disease from spreading. The isolation of this small village in thick equatorial forest somehow helped contain the virus from reaching other areas. However it created some serious logistical headaches for responders. 

During the four months of the outbreak, UNHAS operated 21 flights, carried 187 passengers and 27 tons of medical, logistics and telecommunications cargo. There is no doubt that, without this robust air support to the epicenter of the outbreak, the disease would have not been contained. 

Photo:WFP/Leonora Bauman

A common humanitarian services critical for the DRC 

[donation-form]The DRC is known for its limited infrastructure including roads and bridges. Sometimes it can take a full day to travel just a couple of hundred kilometers. WFP and UNHAS have been providing air service solutions for the last six years to enable humanitarians reach vulnerable people wherever they are. The fleet consists of five planes and one helicopter based in Goma. The overall air operation is made possible by the generous support of donor countries including Sweden, the United States, Canada, Germany, Belgium, Japan and the United Kingdom.
In 2014 alone, UNHAS transported 42,481 passengers and 483.64 tons of cargo. It also carried out the emergency security evacuation of 25 people as well as the medical evacuation of 11 others. 

Learn more about WFP's operations in DRC by visiting our country page or the recnt photo-story on Exposure.

The humanitarian community in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) relies on the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service’s (UNHAS) to reach remote areas, support national disaster responses, as well as carry out emergency evacuations of humanitarian aid workers. 

05/15/2015 - 09:43

Working Quickly to Assess Needs 

A WFP-chartered vessel arrived in the Yemeni port of Hudayda on Saturday 9 May with 300,000 litres of fuel and supplies for other humanitarian organizations

WFP Country Director Purnima Kashyap met with colleagues in Sana'a on Tuesday 12 May, to assess the situation on the ground. WFP is aiming to provide emergency food rations to more than 750,000 people in conflict-hit areas during the five day humanitarian pause. Prior to the upsurge in fighting, WFP was regularly assisting nearly 4 million vulnerable Yemenis.

During the five day pause, WFP will also preposition special food products for treating and preventing malnutrition at health and nutrition centres. The quantity is enough to meet the needs of 25,000 children under five and pregnant and nursing women. Child malnutrition rates in Yemen are among the highest in the world. Around half of all children under five are stunted; too short for their age as a result of malnutrition.

"Overall Staff are Committed to Doing More and Wanting to Help the Yemenis."

On Wednesday the Country Director met with staff to strengthen WFP's work during this critical five day pause.

WFP has reached more than 1 million people in Yemen in the past month. However, the conflict has increased the number of people going hungry, with an estimated 12 million struggling to find their next meal. 

The Humanitarian Country Team – comprising UN agencies and international and local NGOs working in Yemen – met with partners. WFP plans to provide food to 2.5 million people over the next three months and will need almost US$43 million every month to feed them.

Another vessel is ready to dock with an additional 120,000 litres of fuel. But together this is only 15 percent of the monthly fuel requirement for all humanitarian operations, which includes fuel for milling wheat grain as well as keeping the water supply systems pumping throughout the country.

[donation-form|lead_source|form_tag|form]WFP plans to provide food to 2.5 million people over the next three months and requires almost US$43 million every month in Yemen to feed them.

World Food Programme (WFP) staff in Yemen are ready to provide emergency food rations during crucial five-day ceasefire.

05/14/2015 - 12:00

An RBA-MAL team visited the village of Chimpili in Luwingu district in April to talk to farmers about how best to get their produce from farm to market.

[quote|“In the 2014 harvesting season, the village lost 837 bags (4,185kg) of maize because we had nowhere to store it”]“In the 2014 harvesting season, the village lost 837 bags (4,185kg) of maize because we had nowhere to store it,” explains Irene Musonda, ‘Purchase For Progress’ Coordinator in Chimpili. “It wasn’t even rats or insects. It just got wet in the rain and was spoiled”.

P4P is a programme run by WFP to buy grain from smallholder farmers for use in school-feeding programmes in Zambia or humanitarian operations further afield.

“This Agri-Business Centre will help us save every bag this year,” says Irene as she leads the WFP’s Director of RBA Relations, Mihoko Tamamura, inside a clean, new building with storage space for 500 metric tons of grain and a mill to process it.

In 2012, the village only produced 23 tons of beans. In 2014 they grew and sold 252 tons (worth 907,000 kwacha/US$200,000). This year they are aiming for 600 tons. By helping Chimpili’s farmers improve the quality and quantity of their harvests, P4P has in turn enabled them to benefit from increased economies of scale through ‘group marketing’.

With the German-funded Agri-business Centre now up and running, it is likely the village will have more to spend on education, healthcare, home improvements and transport. The village cooperative has even built a house which they rent out to the private sector.

To further improve the village’s links to markets, IFAD has secured funding to rehabilitate the 28 kilometre stretch of road that is Chimpili’s only link to the main road. The road is currently in poor condition and the cost of transporting crops along it considerably reduces the villagers’ profit margins.

FAO in turn will introduce their ‘Conservation Agriculture Scale-Up’ programme to the village to help increase the output and sustainability of Chimpili’s farms.

Mihoko, was happy to learn that the farmers have been getting good prices for their high-quality grain. She thanked the villagers for sharing lessons on how the RBAs can link WFP-demand, FAO-supply and IFAD financing to boost other viable, rural economies like Chimpili’s.

"The UN’s Rome-based Agencies (the World Foood Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the International Fund for Agricultural Development) and Zambia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) are combining their comparative advantages to increase their speed and effectiveness in helping isolated farming villages in northern Zambia get out of poverty and into business"

05/13/2015 - 07:28
Responding to Emergencies

Initiating a Rapid Assessment

The WFP team flew to the base of Mt. Everest’s Khumbu Glacier and over Namche Bazaar. The assessment team also surveyed Chautara in Sindhupalchok District, where WFP’s forward operating hub is located, and Charikot in Dolakha District – these were places heavily affected by the first earthquake. A great deal of damage was visible from the helicopter, but it is not yet clear if this is a result of the first earthquake on April 25 or of Tuesday’s quake. [photo|646321]

“We just initiated a rapid assessment in response to this recent earthquake which happened in the eastern part of the country. We wanted to quickly determine if staff was safe, whether there had been any impact to our ongoing operations and also to get a sense of, if there were new areas that were impacted by this recent 7.4 magnitude quake,” said Ragan.

Funds were already urgently needed to support the survivors of the quake two weeks ago; the needs will no doubt become even more acute now.

WFP has mounted a massive response to meet the needs of the survivors of the April 25 earthquake. WFP has distributed food to nearly one million people in six districts; it has been an immensely challenging operation due to the mountainous terrain and remoteness of the affected locations.

Continuing to Provide Crucial Food and Relief Items

WFP hopes to continue distributing food to earthquake survivors as planned, but this new earthquake and the aftershocks will make the situation even more difficult. Reports are coming in about landslides in various districts, and we will need to determine which roads are still accessible for land transport of relief items. Time is of the essence as we try to reach people before the monsoon rains arrive in just a few weeks.

WFP, as lead UN logistics agency, has been working to provide road and air transportation for other urgently-needed items as well as food, with a relief hub at Kathmandu airport and two forward hubs in Gorkha and Sindhupalchok districts (west and east of Kathmandu respectively). We expect that with the new earthquake, there will be renewed demand for support to search and rescue missions, which will need to be prioritised before the delivery of relief items.


WFP urgently needs US$116.6 million to provide food for 1.4 million affected people for three months. You can support WFP’s work in Nepal by making a donation at

Within hours of the quake, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) carried out an aerial assessment mission, with the Emergency Coordinator, Richard Ragan, flying by helicopter to the affected area and speaking to officials on the ground.