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649540
05/03/2016 - 17:35

CAYAMBE, ECUADOR – Rosa María is a smallholder farmer and works her small plot of land with her family. Like other members of her community, she must adapt to a changing climate. In the past, when rains failed, it affected how much food she and her family could consume and sell to make a living. Decrease in production meant she had to decide between income and consumption for herself and her family. Climate change is making these failures of the rains more frequent.  

In response to Ecuador’s national needs and priorities, WFP initiated the project “Enhancing Resilience of Communities to the Adverse Effects of Climate Change on Food Security” or simply the FORECCSA project (using its Spanish acronym) on the request of the Ministry of Environment, and in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Jubones River Basin Public Consortium, and the Provincial Government of Pichincha in 2011. The FORECCSA Project is funded by the UNFCCC Adaptation Fund and receives support from the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, as well as local Governments. 

Improving food production and incomes in dry areas


Rosa María Cacuango (2nd from the left) Photo Credit: WFP/Zachary Morrice

FORECCSA´s objective is that communities of the province of Pichincha, including Cayambe, and the Jubones River Basin in Ecuador adapt to the effects of climate change so that their food security is protected.

In San Luis de Ichisí, the neighbourhood where Rosa Maria lives, the FORECCSA Project constructed a reservoir with a 20,000m³ capacity for irrigating 120 hectares in order to guarantee water for cultivation purposes during the dry season. 

One of the crops being irrigated using the new reservoir is the Lupini bean. Grown in the high attitudes of Cayambe, in the Pichincha Province of Ecuador, the white lupini bean is a legume rich in vegetable protein, calcium and fiber. The community decided to plant seeds for this plant since they have known how to cultivate it. Rosa María also knows how to prepare this protein rich plant using recipes passed down through generations in her family. Once cooked, Rosa Maria sells the preparation in the local markets and earns an income.

Rosa Maria prepared Lupini beans using a traditional recipe for the Day of the Rural Woman and Food in Cayambe city. On this particular day, local residents and visitors bought this delicious and nourishing traditional food - which adults and children enjoy alike - at the stand of Rosa María and her companions of the FORECCSA project. 

Generating awareness and learning from each other

On the work that she did with her companions, she is hopeful for her future. “We have made sacrifices, but we also have our reward” says Rosa Maria. “We are glad to represent FORECCSA. We are all from the same neighborhood. It has been a nice experience to be together, to work together for a result. It is nice to meet with these women. If there is something we don´t know, we learn, because what one doesn´t know, the other knows. I am very happy.” 

[quote|"We are glad to represent FORECCSA. We are all from the same neighborhood. It has been a nice experience to be together, to work together for a result. It is nice to meet with these women. If there is something we don´t know, we learn, because what one doesn´t know, the other knows. I am very happy.” – Rosa Maria]

Scheduled to run for five years, the project seeks to address priorities established by national and local governments, targeting 150 communities within 50 parishes and a total of 15,000 families in the provinces of Azuay, Loja and El Oro located in the Jubones River Basin, as well as the province of Pichincha. Activities aim to address the impact of reduced precipitation levels, increasingly frequent droughts, reduction in water flows, decreased crop yields and increased fragility of ecosystems on food security.

Local communities in the highlands of Ecuador have felt the direct impact of climate change through the loss of agricultural yields, fishery and tourism. Rosa Maria Cacuango, a smallholder farmer, has directly faced this challenge. Lack of rainfall and frequent droughts led to food insecurity as well as loss of income among her community. But now, Rosa Maria is more resilient, thanks to the “Enhancing Resilience of Communities to the Adverse Effects of Climate Change on Food Security” or the FORECCSA project, implemented by the government with WFP’s support.

649533
05/03/2016 - 04:12
Cash and Vouchers

In the small agricultural community of Butig, Lanao del Sur, not so long ago farmers had to travel to and from the nearest town by foot or horse. They would spend Php25 to Php50 (around US$0.50 to US$1) for each sack of goods they needed to transport.

“We had to walk or travel by horse along slippery and muddy roads,” explains Sirad, a 52-year old farmer from Butig. “The poor road access had a direct impact on farmers in our community.”

Today, the challenge of the muddy road is behind them. Sirad is proud to showcase the new farm-to-market road in their barangay (village) which he and the other farmers built themselves.

The 370-metre stretch of concrete road was funded by the Department of Public Works and Highways in Region 10 and supported by WFP through cash-based assistance.


Before and after photo of the farm-to-market road at the start and end of construction. Photos: WFP/Apasrah Bani

In exchange for 30 days of work, Sirad and his companions were paid Php6,000 (US$130). Many of the farmers used the cash to buy food for themselves and their families.

“We are lucky that our barangay was targeted for the cash project of WFP. The support is very timely considering that most of us have no expected income as our crops have been damaged by drought,” says Sirad, who has five children.


Sirad during the distribution of the electronic prepaid card. Photo: WFP/Raihana Datuharon

As the leader of a farmers’ organization, Sirad shares that constructing the road had its challenges but it provided farmers with better opportunities.

“The hauling cost of agricultural products and other goods has been reduced by 40 percent,” Sirad shares. “Our families also have better access to the barangay health centre and schools now.”

A new road built with the support of WFP helps farmers in a village in Lanao del Sur get their produce to market faster and cheaper.

649530
05/02/2016 - 23:42

 

The government is receiving shipments of aid from many parts of the world, including cargo flights from humanitarian disaster response depots maintained by the United Nations.  WFP/Gabriela Malo

Before this cargo can be distributed, temporary storage is necessary. As part of its assistance to Ecuador during the emergency, many of these goods are now being stored in the Humanitarian Assistance Logistics Center (CELAH) maintained by the World Food Programme, thanks to an agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture in Tumbaco, near the capital of Quito, which was not damaged by the earthquake. WFP/Gabriela Malo

Trained staff loads and unloads cargo stored at CELAH. WFP/Alexis Vallejo

Humanitarian partners and government entities utilize the facility. When the destination is set, the cargo is loaded onto trucks. WFP/Alexis Vallejo

Loaded and sealed, trucks head out to the most affected areas of the Ecuadorian coast. WFP/Alexis Vallejo

After a journey of at least eight hours, the aid reaches the people waiting for assistance. WFP/Susana Rincones

Following the earthquake that destroyed both lives and buildings, humanitarian response is arriving in Ecuador.

649428
05/02/2016 - 16:34

"I will never forget that day"

"When you’re held at gunpoint, do you have a choice?” ponders 53-year-old Marguerite Lakue as she recalls the day she fled her village. “I will never forget that day. It was 7 March 2015. There was a group of them with weapons. Within minutes, they burned down my house. They took everything we had. There was nothing left. I walked 30 kilometres to get here to Kaga Bandoro with my children....We were in total shock and despair," she says.

Marguerite is a mother of ten. She is also a farmer. Before being forced to fee, she worked her land for 20 years.

"Back home, I used to grow peanuts, manioc (a root vegetable also called cassava), corn, sesame, pumpkins, tomatoes, spinach, cabbage, cucumbers, okra, and rice," she says softly. "Last year, I couldn't do anything. I relied on help from the World Food Programme (WFP) for food. My brother who works in Bangui has been supporting me to pay for the place that we are renting here. But I need to become independent," says Marguerite.

It has been difficult. She says she hasn’t had anything to eat for the past day. This happens occasionally, she explains, as she wants to feed her children first, and there are times when the food is simply just not enough for the whole family.

A farmer's hope

[quote|"I am looking forward to this assistance. I can focus on farming again this year and have food to eat between the planting and harvest seasons"]


Marguerite has been a farmer for 20 years. (Photo:WFP/Sayaka Sato)

Marguerite hopes to return to her village one day. For the immediate future, she hopes to regain a sense of normalcy: to grow her own food and have enough for everyone.

Her immediate dream is within reach. In the next weeks, she will receive seeds and tools from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to plant the plot next to her home, and also food from WFP to get her through the following months. It is the period before the next harvest, known as the lean season, when there is less food than usual. It’s also the time when Marguerite, and others in her situation, need the most support.

"I am looking forward to this assistance. I can focus on farming again this year and have food to eat between the planting and harvest seasons," she says.

[quote|"Within minutes, they burned down my house. They took everything we had. There was nothing left."]


Marguerite getting ready to wash the dishes. (Photo:WFP/Sayaka Sato)

"These days, when possible, I earn some income by baking and selling doughnuts, but I am a farmer. This describes in the best way who I am,"  she adds.


Marguerite is looking at her palms. She can't wait to hold the seeds in her hands, she says. (Photo:WFP/Sayaka Sato)

Seeds for Change

Eight out of ten people in C.A.R. depend on agriculture.

FAO and WFP are working together to help farming families provide their own feed. Each year, starting in 2014, through an initiative called 'seeds protection', FAO and WFP work in synch to provide seeds to nearly 100,000 families before their planting season starts. During this period, when food is scarce, some families might otherwise have to resort to eating the seeds that are meant for planting.

WFP provides food (cereals, beans, oil and salt) for families to prepare meals to eat now and during the growing season, and FAO provides seeds (groundnuts, maize, rice, sorghum, and beans) and hoes for sowing to the same families so they can eat in the future too. At harvest time some of the seeds can be saved and planted again next season.

The FAO-WFP partnership is crucial to reduce hunger now and in the years to come.

Providing food through the seed protection initiative is made possible thanks to the financial support of (in alphabetical order): CanadaEuropean UnionJapan, USAID.


Displaced children living in Marguerite's neighbourhood. (Photo: WFP/Sayaka Sato)

[donation-form-strong|2016-wfp-car-seeds4change|2016-wfp-car-seeds4change|635]

WATCH: Find out more about the hunger situation in C.A.R.

JOIN IN: Follow the twitter conversation #seeds4hope; @WFP; @WFP_WAfrica; @FAOnews; @FAOemergencies

 

Three years of conflict have left a heavy toll on the people of the Central African Republic (C.A.R.). Nearly one million people are still uprooted. Half of the population faces hunger. Now, peace is coming to C.A.R. and people need support to recover and rebuild. 

649339
04/29/2016 - 16:37

1) Pakistan ranks 77th out of 109 on the Global Food Security Index.

2) Six out of 10 Pakistanis  are food insecure.

3) Food insecurity persists although food production is sufficient to feed all Pakistanis.

4) Almost half of women and children under five years of age are malnourished.

5) In 2015, WFP assisted over 3.6 million people.

6) In 2015, WFP assisted nearly 420,000 moderately acute malnourished children and nearly 360,000 pregnant women and nursing mothers. 

7) WFP provided nearly a quarter of a million students with on-site rations of high energy biscuits and take-home rations of fortified vegetable oil in schools across six Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) agencies.

8) WFP has been a partner of the Pakistani government for almost half a century. 

9) The Government of Pakistan is the second largest donor to WFP operations in the country, after the United States.

10) Agriculture is vital to Pakistan: it employs almost half the work force and contributes over a fifth of GDP.

Learn more about hunger and malnutrition from WFP's comprehensive list of Facts About Hunger and Malnutrition.

Here are ten facts that shed light on the hunger situation in Pakistan. Please help the World Food Programme (WFP) raise awareness by sharing these important facts on Twitter. 

649422
04/24/2016 - 16:12

Sushmita is a daily wage worker. With a child to look after and no family support, it’s not easy for her to put food on the table and cover other expenses.
[quote|"If I can get basic food at subsidised rates, I will be able to save some money."]

​Photo:WFP/Aditya Arya 

Sushmita qualifies for subsidized grain from the Indian government’s Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) – the world’s largest such programme. It aims to reach 800 million people, or two-thirds of India’s population.

“If I can get basic food at subsidised rates, I will be able to save some money. The savings will take care of my other expenses like medical bills,” Sushmita says.

A mammoth task

Forty million people live in Odisha, where the Government is working to modernise the TPDS in line with India’s 2013 National Food Security Act. The first major step in the modernisation was an overhaul of the beneficiary registration system with biometric identification, culminating in the introduction of new, bar-coded ration cards for some 30 million people. The new registration campaign was a mammoth task.


​Photo:WFP/Aditya Arya 

A public awareness campaign explained the procedure. All citizens could file applications. These went into a digital database which filtered out ineligible applicants. Field verifications took place. The updated list was then published for public scrutiny before being finalized. It was the first revision of the registration system in 20 years, and saw many ‘ghost’ and bogus cards eliminated from the list.

The new, bar-coded ration cards were then distributed to 8 million households - the eldest woman in every household was registered as the cardholder.

Convenience and transparency

The new cards enable families to collect their monthly entitlements of rice, wheat and millet from any of the 28,000 Fair Price Shops in the state. New electronic-Point of Sale (e-POS) devices are designed to make the process even more transparent: they record all transactions and authenticate biometric credentials.


Photo:WFP/Aditya Arya 

Global best practice

[video|649018] “WFP drew on its own institutional knowledge of running food distribution in more than 70 countries, many of them in extremely complex operating environments. We also commissioned research from local experts to identify best practices,” said Dr. Hameed Nuru, WFP India Country Director. “But WFP has so much to learn in India as well.

WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation and globally we provide food to 80 million people per year – but the Government of India aims to reach ten times that number through the TPDS.”

Click play to watch a short film on WFP’s support in the transformation of TPDS in Odisha. 

 

In India, a WFP-supported efficiency drive is bringing bar-coded ration cards to the world’s largest food distribution programme.
With a third of its people living in poverty, the state of Odisha – formerly known as Orissa – is among India’s worst performers on most measures of social wellbeing. This makes it a good testing ground for reforms to India’s vast food distribution system. WFP is proud to support this modernization process.

649493
04/22/2016 - 14:20

1) Why does WFP care about climate change?

The World Food Programme aims to eradicate hunger in our lifetime, a bold aim that is manifested in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is at the centre of Agenda 2030.

This vision cannot be achieved without urgent and ambitious action to address climate change. WFP’s own work with the UK Met Office, to project vulnerability to food insecurity under different climate change scenarios, illustrates both the strong need for large-scale investments in adaptation and for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to end hunger by 2030 and beyond.

2) How does climate change drive hunger?

Each year between 80 and 90 percent of natural disasters are climate-related, primarily floods, storms and droughts. These disasters destroy assets, land, livestock, crops and food supplies, and make it harder for people to access markets and food networks.

Climate disasters also affect water access and quality, care practices, and access to healthy diets, further affecting hunger and malnutrition. Climate change will make this situation worse.

According to the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate change could increase the risk of hunger and malnutrition by up to 20 percent by 2050. Infographic: How climate change drives hunger.

3) How much of WFP’s work is climate-related? 

Helping countries reduce disaster risk and adapt and build resilience to climate change is core to WFP’s work:

•    In the last decade, almost half of WFP emergency and recovery operations responded to, and helped people recover from, climate-related disasters, with a budget of US$23 billion. WFP responded to climate disasters in 20 countries more than 5 times. 

•    In the last five years, 40 percent of WFP’s operations included activities to reduce disaster risk, build resilience or help people adapt to climate change. The majority of these activities took place within emergency operations and protracted relief and recovery operations.

•    In 2014, WFP reached 80 million people with food assistance in 82 countries. 12.7 million people received WFP food as an incentive to build assets that reduce the risk of climate disasters and build resilience over time, helping them break out of a cycle of chronic vulnerability

4) What is WFP doing to address climate change?

•    WFP’s analysis work helps governments and communities to understand the links between food security and climate risks, the impact of climate change on food security and nutrition, and to identify the most vulnerable communities and the policy and action needed to build their resilience.

•    WFP supports local communities, national governments and regional institutions to develop food-assistance programmes that build resilience and reduce hunger. 

•    WFP is a leader in climate-resilience innovations to help the most vulnerable people diversify their livelihoods, protect assets, incomes and crops with insurance and savings, improve access to markets, and help informed decision-making with better climate forecasts.

•    WFP’s climate policy work includes improving climate risk analyses to better understand the impact of climate change on food security for better policies and programmes, sharing experiences in innovative climate risk management and adaptation programmes to support replication, and engaging in the UNFCCC process on adaptation, loss and damage, climate finance, and food security and agriculture.

5) Is WFP offering new solutions?

WFP is a leading innovator in climate resilience for food security. Here are some examples:

•    Linking climate change adaptation and resilience to safety nets through the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative, a comprehensive risk management scheme. R4 has broken new ground in the field of rural risk management by enabling the poorest farmers to pay for crop insurance with their own labour.

•    Forecast-based financing. FoodSECuRE is a tool that triggers funds before climate disasters occur, allowing WFP to scale-up nutrition programming and disaster risk reduction activities so that people are more resilient and prepared if a forecasted crisis hits.  FoodSECuRE also ensures funds are available during the emergency response and post-disaster, because only through multi-year funding can we build long-term resilience. 

•    Climate services. WFP is one of the few organizations helping smallholder farmers access and co-produce relevant and easy-to-understand climate, weather and agricultural information, so that they are able to take better decisions to manage impending droughts and floods. In Malawi and Tanzania, WFP is reaching farmers through radio programmes, mobile phone (SMS and audio) and training of agricultural extension workers, on how to interpret and communicate climate information to rural audiences.

•    Early warning. WFP and Germany are collaborating on a project in five countries that not only helps governments to improve their climate-risk analysis and develop early warning systems, but also links these tools to their disaster preparedness procedures.

6) Is WFP making a difference?

[story|648336]WFP innovations are helping build the resilience of vulnerable households to climate risks. In 2015, the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative reached almost 200,000 people across Ethiopia, Senegal, Malawi and Zambia. R4 provided 2.2 million USD in micro insurance protection, through insurance-for-assets, to these farmers, while supporting them to reduce their exposure to climate disasters and improve their livelihoods.   

WFP is also expanding its reach with climate services, providing almost 10,000 people in Malawi and Tanzania with downscaled climate forecasts and advisories that can help them make better livelihoods decisions and prepare for potential climate disasters. 

Through FoodSECuRE, which was fast-tracked in 2015 to address the potential impacts of El Niño, 1,000 households in Zimbabwe and Guatemala received anticipatory support to build their resilience ahead of the peak of the drought. 

WFP is implementing climate change adaptation projects in Ecuador, Egypt, Mauritania and Sri Lanka, helping more than 750,000 people adapt to climate change and build resilient food security systems. Specific activities include capacity building, livelihood diversification and increasing adaptive capacity through creation of physical assets. 

7) What is the Paris Agreement?

[story|649044]The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) governing greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance from 2020 onwards. The agreement was negotiated during the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP 21) in Paris, and adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015 by 195 countries. The ratifying ceremony takes place on 22 April.

Countries committed to lowering emissions to a level that limits global warming to well below 2°, and agreed to review their progress every five years. Countries also set a minimum yearly target of USD 100 billion in climate finance for developing countries by 2020.  

Donors committed pledges to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the newest and largest climate change fund under the UNFCCC which plans to invest a total of USD 2.5 billion in both mitigation and adaptation projects by the end of 2016.

WFP was accredited as Multilateral Implementing Entity (MIE) of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in March 2016 for micro-size projects (USD 10 million) with low environmental and social risk level.

8) What does the climate deal mean for WFP?

The Paris Agreement represents a major step forward in the global effort to tackle climate change and end hunger. At the centre of the agreement is the importance of achieving food security and eradicating hunger and poverty.

The Paris Agreement will shape WFP's work in the years to come, in areas ranging from food security and nutrition, to emergency preparedness, risk management and climate adaptation programmes. While the agreement was an unprecedented success, massive investment and action is now needed to help people build their resilience to climate shocks, become food secure and to thrive under a changing climate. 

9) What happens next?

To support the implementation of the Paris Agreement, WFP, together with communities, partners and governments, will be taking forward its innovative efforts and many others to translate the ambition of Paris into action to eradicate hunger in communities around the world.  

This includes helping governments to develop and implement national adaptation plans, such as through climate analyses and best practices that address food security concerns, in exploring tools that provide innovative, flexible funding to reduce the impacts of climate disasters on communities, and scaling up activities that link social protection and adaptation for long-term climate resilience.

Read more about WFP and climate change.

 

The Paris Agreement has been signed on April 22 by global leaders. The valubale text, reached at COP 21 in December, set an unprecedented standard in addressing the causes and impact of climate change. Now it needs to be translated into urgent and ambitious investment and action. In this quick guide, we explain the World Food Programme’s work to build the resilience of vulnerable people to climate change, and what the Paris Agreement means for our goal of ending hunger by 2030. 

649487
04/21/2016 - 15:13

Susy Rincones was relaxing in her hammock on Saturday evening (16 April) in Muisne town, Ecuador, when she began to feel the ground trembling. 

[story|649457]


Photo: Josep Vecino / Anadolu Agency

At least 400 people died in the quake, with thousands of others left in desperate need of assistance. Here Susy, who works in the World Food Programme office in Esmeraldas, describes the terrifying moments when she feared for her life – and how she is now focusing on helping others affected by the quake. 

“The word I would use to describe how I feel is vulnerable. 

I thought my house could catch on fire, a flood, but never imagined that it would fall before my eyes.

There were two earthquakes that night. The strongest was around 7pm. I was relaxing in my hammock that I have strung up between an orange and guava tree. As night fell and the mosquitoes came out, I planned to head inside, watch some TV and make a snack. 

A feeling of helplessness

The shorts that I had on that night had a few buttons, and when the tremors started I wanted to run. But my shorts got caught in the hammock. I couldn’t stand, I was stuck. The branches of the trees rustled with the movement of the earthquake, and I felt helpless, unable to move. I did not want a branch to fall and kill me. 

[quote|"The branches of the trees rustled with the movement of the earthquake, and I felt helpless, unable to move"]


Photo: WFP/Mirna Hinostroza

When I was finally able to break free, I ran into an open space, and it was there I stopped screaming. I was in front of my house. It was so frustrating, because of the aftershocks, the house started to fall in front of my eyes! I was deeply saddened. I could have been inside and could have died. The wall fell on my bed where I would have been at that time. 

My house is about 25 meters from the main street, from which direction I saw two young women coming towards me between tremors. They stopped under a structure that could have fallen. I hastily removed them and did my best to calm them down. In that moment I couldn’t think about myself.  

When I returned to my house, I didn’t understand what was going on. I was in shock. Only after a few minutes did I understand what had happened. When I went to find my husband and was in the street, I noticed that other houses had fallen. He was at the store, but I couldn’t find him. I thought he was probably dead. Thank goodness he was safe and sound. 

Then came the aftershocks 

The night of the earthquake we removed a mattress from what was left of my house and slept under a tree. There were so many aftershocks that we feared debris would fall on us.  

[quote|"Everything was dark, fortunately there was a large moon, providing us with enough light."] 


Debris lies across Susy's bed after her home was destryoed in Saturday's earthquake. Photo:WFP/Susana Rincones

Power was out and we couldn’t sleep. Everything was dark, fortunately there was a large moon, providing us with enough light. The following day we were able to truly comprehend the extent of the damage – we had lost nearly everything. That night we traveled to Esmeraldas, to my mom’s house.

Now that I am part of the emergency, I see the suffering and loss of life caused by this earthquake. I don’t want to think about me, what I will do nor where I will live. I don’t want to think about the fact that I don’t have a home.”

WFP Convoy Brings Food

WFP has sent a convoy with food assistance for some 8,000 people severely affected by the earthquake, at the request of the Ecuador government. 

[story|644710|646118]


Photo:WFP/Alejandro Chicheri

Emergency food assistance kits were already available, as they formed part of disaster preparedness measures taken as the region braced itself for the impact of El Niño.

“This first delivery of food assistance will make a tremendous difference in the lives of people who are overcoming such hardship,” said Kyungnan Park, WFP Representative in Ecuador. 

Visit the Ecuador Newsroom for the latest news on the emergency

One survivor of Ecuador’s earthquake describes the terrifying moment when the ground began to tremble – and how she watched helpless as her home collapsed before her.

649479
04/21/2016 - 11:50
Cash and Vouchers, Focus on Women, Preventing Hunger

YEI, South Sudan – Cabbages gave Doruka Moriba Elinoma a new lease on life.  

The 58-year-old mother of eight started growing and selling the vegetables last year on a small plot of land near Yei, about 160 kilometers southwest of South Sudan’s capital, Juba. She says the new income she earns has changed her family’s lives.

The idea for the farm had come to her during a year-long training – sponsored by Women for Women International, in partnership with WFP – where she learned techniques to improve crop production and farming as a business. 

She talked to her husband, Luate Elinoma, about the idea of growing crops both for immediate consumption and for sale, and they agreed to work together on the venture. Members of their family pooled their resources into a patch of land to enable her start-up a farming business.

She used some of the seeds she received from the training, and planted her first crop while she was still enrolled in the programme, so she could start using the new skills she was learning in real time.

The result is a farming plot where they grow cabbages, eggplants, tomatoes and onions.  From less than a hectare of land, Moriba Elinoma earned 11,260 South Sudanese pounds by selling her first crop – worth around US$1,400 at the time. She’s on her fourth crop now, and has now become a wholesale vendor of vegetables, supplying markets around Yei.

Doruka Moriba Elinoba and her relative working on their cabbage patch.  Photo: WFP/Francis Odor

“The training opened my eyes to see and do what I had never thought of,” Moriba Elinoma said. “I have used part of the profits I have made to construct a house, and I have bought chickens and goats to rear for future use.”

Valuable skills

Since 2014, WFP has been working with WfWI to provide cash for training in Yei County to help people in the area build better long-term food security and work toward zero hunger.  The training from WfWI gives people the skills to increase their agricultural yields and develop income generating activities, and the cash from WFP helps women afford to participate in the year-long programme and still feed their families in the meantime.

The participants receive a monthly stipend of about US$10 in exchange for the time they spend acquiring a variety of life skills to improve their crop production, learn basic numeracy and gain business skills, as well as obtain information on hygiene, health care, nutrition, gender-based violence, family planning and women’s empowerment. They also learn to build networks and create groups that allow them to pool financial resources and support their families in rural areas. 

“Our objective is not just cash transfers, but rather to enable people to move from one point to another,” said Tiwonge Machiwenyika, the head of WFP’s cash-based transfers team in South Sudan. “We want to see people come through learn a new skill and then have an impact in their communities and [on their] household food security.”

Saving for the future

WFP and Women for Women International are also helping women’s groups set up savings and loans associations to enable them create their own source of credit and savings, which will help them expand their businesses and improve food security. 

Jackie Diki chairs the Tomeka women’s savings and loans group in the village of Lasu, about 30 kilometers from Yei. During the training programme, she saved money from the stipend she received from WFP and invested it with the savings association.

“I have changed my grass thatched roof to one with iron sheeting,” Diki said. “Before the training I used worry about how I would survive because I am widow.  After the training there is no worries, I have support from members of the group. I am living free!

Jackie Diki talks about the future while visiting the farm being established by her savings association.  Photo: WFP/George Fominyen

Her group is investing its collective profits to open a farm where they plan to grow maize, groundnuts (peanuts) and beans for sale. The current piece of land they are using is provided by one of the members. In the future they will ask their community leaders to provide them with a plot. 

“If we work very hard, we will be great women in our community. Women must work. They cannot stay with hands folded,” Diki added as the members visited the farm plot.

Veronica Awate is now earning enough by selling vegetables to send all of the orphans she cares for to school. Before, she could only afford to educate one. Veronica Awate at the Tomeka farm.  Photo: WFP/George Fominyen

"I have used the knowledge from this training. Life has changed," says Veronica Awate, a member of the Tomeka savings group who has been supporting a group of orphans since her own child died. "I am strong now, financially, and I can pay the tuition for all the children staying with me."

Partnership

More than 2,800 women have undertaken the life-skill training programme since 2014. The latest group of trainees graduated in April at a ceremony in Lasu, where about 200 women and 50 men received their certificates.

While the programme initially trained only women, WFP and its partner WfWI have begun to involve men in the training programme in order to encourage them to support and partner with women. They take all the modules with emphasis on evolving gender roles, family planning, economic empowerment and partnering with women for development.

“Men and women of South Sudan should encourage women to be educated so that they can see the light and transform the world,” said Luate Elinoma, who supported his wife’s initiatives. “Since Moriba joined that programme, she has become a strong and influential woman both for the family and the community, advising her fellow women to use the skills and knowledge to transform their lives for the better.”

Based on the success of the project, WFP and WfWI in partnership are expanding the programme to include refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo who live in a settlement close to Yei. 

Hundreds of women in South Sudan are transforming their lives with valuable new vocational skills learned through a social and economic empowerment training program supported by the World Food Programme and Women for Women International. The participants say they have been able to achieve things they’d never thought possible after learning techniques for sustainable agriculture and how to build savings by setting up village savings and loans associations.

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Cash and Vouchers

Getting the SIM card - the gateway to mobile money for communities in Gbache. Photo Credit: WFP/Vera Boohene

WFP switched from food to cash assistance as part of its asset creation programme in 2014. As in some rural areas, access to banks is difficult, in 2015, WFP started piloting mobile phone-based cash assistance, enabling the population to receive money directly on their mobile phones. This makes it easier for people like Adams to manage the cash assistance. The mobile phone-based cash assistance enables them to ‘save’ part of their earnings on their mobile phones or SIM cards so that they cash the exact amount that they need at any given time. They simply go to the nearest mobile money vendor whenever they need extra cash. As payments in the asset creation programme occur three times during the nine-month fish ponds' construction period, the participants have time to build their savings.     

Photo Credit: WFP/Vera Boohene

Asset creation projects improve lives

Most people in northern Ghana are farmers. Unlike southern Ghana which has two rainy seasons annually, the northern part has only one. Its climate and ecology are similar to the Sahel region. This means that there are long dry spells, erratic rainfall, desertification and land degradation. Farmers need help to cope in such environments. WFP’s asset creation programme helps them build resilience, improve livelihoods and boost food security and nutrition. The cash assistance that is part of this programme boosts local economies and gives people the flexibility of buying the type of food that they need, and whenever they want it.

WFP works with local authorities and non-governmental partners to undertake projects which are requested by the communities themselves. Since 2012, thanks to funding from the Government of Canada, 94 communities enjoyed the benefits of rehabilitated dams and dug-outs for storing rain water for household use as well as for rearing livestock. Some communities have constructed fish ponds while others are being supported to undertake dry season gardening to improve food security and nutrition. People receive mobile money, cash or food for their participation in these community projects.

“When the district agriculture extension officer informed us about the WFP asset creation programme, the community leaders met to discuss the community’s needs and decided that fish ponds would be most useful,” said Alfred Won-ye, a local government representative in the community. “We thought that the fish would add value to the school meals and make our children healthier and stronger.”    

Community members in Gbache also agreed that the rest of the fish would be sold on the market and the money put into a fund to undertake development projects.  

Fish ponds under construction in Gbache in the Upper West Region in northern Ghana. Photo Credit: WFP/Vera Boohene

Helping people stay 

“I have been farming since I completed senior high school in 2009. During the non-farming season there is no work and so most young people like me are forced to go to large cities to work as labourers and ‘kayaye’ (head porters) to be able to provide  food for their families,” said Adams. “But this year, we stayed home to construct the fish ponds and earn some money.”

The youth hope the fish ponds project will be successful so that they can team up to build their own ponds and have work to do during the non-farming period. Then they no longer have to migrate down south for work but can stay with their families throughout the year and develop their community.

People in Gbache who do not own mobile phones are hoping that MTN, the mobile network company with whom WFP is working, will offer phones at discounted prices so that they can check the balances on their SIM cards more regularly and better manage their savings.   

Adams Inusah with some of the youth in Gbache community.Photo Credit: WFP/Vera Boohene

"I like receiving money through my mobile phone because I can go and cash the exact amount I need for food and save the rest to buy seeds for my farm," says Adams Inusah, a farmer in Gbache. Adams’ feedback is part of the reason why WFP is piloting mobile phone-based cash assistance in Gbache and Sirriyiri, in northern Ghana. As part of  the World Food Programme’s (WFP) asset creation programme, Adams benefits from mobile phone-based cash assistance for the work he undertakes - building fish ponds - in his community.