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11/28/2014 - 14:07
Climate Change

What do climate negotiations mean for world hunger?

[video:644216]Hunger is at the centre of climate change discussions. The people most at risk of hunger also live in fragile environments prone to disasters – which constantly threaten to push them into chronic food insecurity and poverty. At Lima, policy makers will discuss the texts for the next big climate change agreement to be signed in Paris 2015.  

So what will WFP be doing exactly in COP 20? 
WFP will be discussing the issues of food security and climate resilience with UNFCCC delegates in a number of formal and informal forums, including a number of side events. WFP is part of a single UN engagement in the COP, which includes a UN common exhibit area for delegates to view UN’s joint climate change efforts. WFP will share a booth with IFAD and FAO on Food Security and Agriculture, and also support a booth on Resilience.  

Here is what we’ll be doing:

1.   Analyses 

Based on extensive food insecurity and climate change analysis work, WFP will be helping countries to understand the impact of climate change on the most food insecure and vulnerable people. In addition to talking with delegates and sharing climate analysis publications we’ll be participating in side-events on the use of climate data and the impacts of El Nino. Recent WFP country-level climate and food security analyses include: Ethiopia, Senegal, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Kyrgyz Republic.

2.  Innovations 

WFP will share its innovative work on climate change adaptation, resilience building and risk management in order to provide governments with additional ideas and actions that can help people adapt to and deal with climate disasters now and in the future. Some of the side-events will also include discussions on the issues of climate change adaptation, resilience, risk management and climate finance.

3.   Policy 

WFP will also be discussing with delegates some of the top COP policy issues related to adaptation, loss and damage, climate finance, and food security and agriculture. We will be following the negotiations on these topics to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable and food insecure populations are incorporated into the discussions.

Our goal is to ensure that both food insecure populations and the action needed to build their resilience to climate disasters are considered in the talks. This is critical in order to achieve a meaningful agreement that helps pave the way towards eliminating global hunger. According to estimates, failing do to do could imply a 20 percent increase in the risk of hunger by 2050.

More information on WFP’s participation at COP-20 can be found at:

The 20th Conference of the Parties (COP 20) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take place 1-12 December 2014 in Lima, Peru, and WFP will be there.

11/27/2014 - 13:06
Responding to Emergencies

Having been part of several mobile teams deployed to assist people affected by conflict, I could tell from observing others that being a team leader could be a challenging task. I found out for myself when I led a team of eight WFP staff members to Magok at the end of October.

This was not our first mission so everyone was used to the drill: find a place to set up camp, meet the local authorities, organise meetings with members of the community, explain our purpose and procedures and identify an airdrop zone. It was hard to find an airdrop zone as almost everywhere was flooded. But this challenge was like child’s play compared to what happened later.

We radioed the coordinates for the place we had selected as the drop zone. The first drops were alright but on the third day it rained heavily and the drop zone became soggy. When the bags landed some almost sunk in what had become a muddy field in parts and a swimming pool in other areas.

Should we continue the drops in such conditions? Should we start immediate distribution of part of the food such as cereals rather than have them going wet? Here’s where I had to make my first tough decision as a team leader, as I had to consider that we  had registered 13,000 people, most of them looking desperately hungry. They were so weak that we could not find enough people to help as porters to move the bags from the drop zone to where they had to be stacked ready for distribution. Most of the community, if not all, were against suspending the operation until the area became dry again. Women talked about how many weeks they had gone without food and said they would be willing to accept the wet cereals and pulses and dry them just to have food. It is such instances that show the desperation that this conflict has caused.

We therefore agreed to proceed with the drops whenever the weather conditions permitted until we could get the required stock. What was amazing was the level of resilience among the women. They were the ones who were ready to move into the wet drop zone to collect the bags. Many men said they were too weak and tired. They were just waiting for the distribution to commence.

Then something happened that tested my efficiency as a team leader. As we were about to start distribution, we made a routine stock check. We noticed that 20 boxes containing oil and 20 boxes containing nutritious food known as Supercereal Plus had gone missing. This was not good and I could fill sweat trickling down my forehead.

I got in touch with the community leaders and told them we (WFP and our partner Catholic Relief Services) were going to suspend the distribution until the missing commodities were found. The community leaders and authorities tried to influence me and force me to relent.

“How can you take such a decision?” one of the community leaders asked. “Don’t you see all these hungry women and children? Do you want them to die because of a few boxes which have gone missing? Do you want to have their deaths blamed on you?”

I called the WFP Country Office in Juba for guidance and they confirmed my position. No distribution if the food was not returned.

“I cannot be blamed for any deaths,” I said. “We have come here as WFP to help people in need. Do the people who took away those boxes of Supercereal Plus know how many children will now suffer from malnutrition because what the world has sent to help them was carried away by unscrupulous people? My conscience is clear. We are here as humanitarians but you must find those commodities,” I told the community.

After a while the elders and authorities agreed to organise a search for the missing commodities. I really can’t tell how they managed it but after what seemed like several long tense hours all the boxes were recovered. I informed the office in Juba and we carried on with the distribution.

I have experienced many things in the field. The team in Magok was staying in a small, abandoned tukul (house). There was a big tree in this compound and snakes kept slithering out of a hole near the tree. The tradition there does not allow for people to kill snakes, so despite  many team members being petrified we always had to figure out how to send them away and hope they did not comeback. Then there were the hyenas that kept laughing near our compound around midnight. One of them even got into the compound once which was frightening.

The tensest moment definitely remains that period between when we discovered that commodities had gone missing but I am happy that it all went well and that the people received their food.

By Musa Abdallah, WFP South Sudan

Since March 2014 Musa Abdallah has been travelling with emergency mobile teams to reach vulnerable people who have been isolated by conflict in some of the most food-insecure areas of the country. The South Sudanese national became a team leader in October and tells us about the challenges he faced in his  new role while in the village of Mogok in Jonglei State.

11/26/2014 - 13:34

Key facts about Syrian refugees and the WFP response


  • Over 3.2 million Syrians have registered, or are awaiting registration, with UNHCR in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
  • WFP assists over 2 million of the most vulnerable refugees in neighboring countries with food voucher.

  • More than 75 per cent of the registered Syrian refugee population of 1.1 million in Lebanon is women and children.

Click on the map for more information.


(Source: Syrian Refugees Inter-Agency Regional Update, 20 November 2014)

Bekaa valley, Lebanon - With winter at the door, heavy rains have turned Bekaa valley settlements into a muddy swamp. This is where thousands of Syrian refugees will spend the holiday period celebrated by millions of North Americans as Thanksgiving. Follow (with your mouse!) WFP's Jonathan Dumont and Abeer Etefa to get a cool, interactive 360°perspective of the situation.

11/26/2014 - 11:19

SITEKI - Farmer Sabelo Simelane* ,54, has been a farmer most of his life. Growing up in eastern Swaziland, with its fertile soil, it used to be easy for him to grow enough food. But when he started getting sick in 2010, suddenly it was not so easy. 

[quote:“My liver was hurting so much, I needed to tie a cloth around it.”]“It was hard working in the field,” he says. “My liver was hurting so much, I needed to tie a cloth around it.” Lifting his shirt, he demonstrates how he would wrap a cloth around his torso to compress his swollen liver. The constant pain eventually led him to visit the hospital. 

The country with the highest HIV rate in the world

Tests showed he was HIV positive, like 26 percent of the population of Swaziland. The country has the highest HIV prevalence rate in the world. Another test showed he had AIDS, the immune deficiency disease that develops from HIV.

“I started treatment that day. I wanted to keep working.”

Antiretroviral therapy (ART), is effective, and many patients can live healthy lives when they take ART consistently. But staying on therapy can be hard. There’s social stigma to deal with as well as the problems involved in maintaining an income and getting nutritious food to eat. People living with HIV have higher nutrition needs. 

Struggling to eat and provide for his family, in 2011 Simelane began to lose weight. He soon became malnourished. After many months of suffering, the turning point came when he was admitted to a government programme for malnourished ART and tuberculosis patients.

The ‘Food by Prescription’ programme provides food to patients along with nutrition counseling and other support. Every month, Simelane took home a bag of nutrient fortified corn soya blend. To promote general food security, people on the programme also get a household ration of maize, pulses, and vegetable oil. 

Food and tenacity to help him get back to his farm

“I started gaining weight right away,” Simelane says, “I had more strength, but I still wasn’t really OK.”

In fact, he had tuberculosis (TB). He started TB treatment immediately and eventually fought it off. But his weight gain stalled, despite WFP assistance. Like its HIV prevalence rate, Swaziland’s HIV/TB co-infection rate is the highest in the world.

With four young children from his wife’s previous marriage and two grandchildren to support, Simelane was anxious. He was determined to get back to his farm and to start providing for them.

Gradually, with the help of his Food by Prescription rations and by following his ART and TB treatment, he was able to do that. 

In addition to food rations, the nutrition counseling Simelane received in Food by Prescription opened his eyes to a new way of eating. “Before, I just ate. I didn’t care what it was,” he says. “But the hospital said I should eat vegetables. After I started to feel better, I kept eating them.” In July 2012 he reached a healthy weight and was discharged from the programme.

After years spent buying vegetables from others, Simelane decided to try growing his own. His first crop of lettuce, spinach, and beetroot was planted earlier this year and he he has just started selling in his community. He now makes enough money to feed his family, although they still struggle with some things, like school fees. 

Despite the challenges he faces, Simelane is excited for the future. “I want to plant tomatoes, green peppers, even mushrooms now,” he says, looking out over his vegetables. “If I wasn’t healthy, I wouldn’t be able to do that. The food, it’s what helped me.”

*name changed

Diagnosed as HIV positive in 2011, Sabelo became badly malnourished as he struggled to keep his farm going and feed his family. He seemed to be on a downward spiral. But a combination of antiretrovirals, food assistance and nutrition advice turned things around. Today, he grows enough vegetables to keep himself healthy and earn an income on the local market. 

11/25/2014 - 11:15

Harrowing words from a woman who is simply trying to carry out her daily tasks – but sadly, an experience that is echoed, albeit in different contexts, by women the world over.
Acts of violence against women aged 15 – 44 are the cause of more death and disability than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined. From the refugees camps of DRC to the streets of New York, up to 70 per cent of women will experience violence of some form during their lives.
And it isn’t just the lasting physical and psychological marks that remain – gender based violence damages community cohesion, hampers women’s opportunities and devastates livelihoods.
WFP is working with women to ensure that the food assistance we provide contributes to their safety, dignity and integrity.

A safe haven in DRC

[video:642409]In DRC, a startling 1,100 rapes are reported every month, with an average of 36 women and girls raped every single day. Panzi hospital in Bukavu offers a safe haven for survivors of sexual violence providing women with medical care, psychological counselling and life skills workshops.
WFP provides food assistance to the hospital, contributing to a healthy recovery for the women – and ensuring that they have no reason to venture out into unsafe environments.

And WFP isn’t just responding to those that have suffered. Many women living in refugee camps near Goma fled their homes as a result of civil conflict – yet they find life in the refugee camps can bring its own risks.
Having interviewed many women like Maria at the camps near Goma, it was clear many feared for their safety when out in the bushes collecting firewood.
WFP now runs a programme which produces and distributes briquettes as an alternative cooking fuel, sparing women the dangerous trek – where this basic daily task can be a threat to lives.

Promoting equality in Nicaragua

In Nicaragua, it is a different type of violence that threatens most women – and the perpetrators are closer to home. Domestic violence affects nearly 48 per cent of married women in the country, which is one of the reasons why WFP is working to promote gender equality through food programmes.
WFP is teaching women best agricultural practices and supporting gender awareness events to address underlying inequalities and empower women farmers socially and economically.

This is particularly crucial given that in developing countries, women are responsible for 60 to 80 per cent of food production in developing countries. In fact, if women had the same access to resources as men, they could increase agricultural yields by 20 to 30 per cent, lifting 100 – 150 million people out of poverty.

Ending violence against women isn’t only a right for the millions affected worldwide – with women and girls accounting for half of the human capital in the fight against poverty, it is an important step towards ending world hunger.

Take action: Learn more, speak out, and join the 16-day UNiTE campaign to eradicate gender-based violence.


“If we go into the bush to collect firewood, we risk getting robbed or raped – all sorts of things,” Maria Nabinto, a refugee in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), told the World Food Programme (WFP) earlier this year.

11/24/2014 - 17:37
Nutrition, Responding to Emergencies

In August, Siatta’s mother was the first of her family to die of the Ebola virus. Next was her father, and then the aunt who had come to take care of them. Then her brother passed away, his wife, and their children … Out of 15 people living in the little house in Kakata, in Liberia's Margibi district, seven passed away in just nine weeks. 

“No one has been sick for over a month,” says Siatta. “So I believe we are going to be safe now.”

Siatta Stewart, 30, and her sister Famatta, 32, are now the only remaining adults in the family. Together, they have to take care of six children between the ages of four and 16 – their brothers, sisters, and nephews. Before the outbreak started, neither of the sisters had a secure job. Siatta used to help in a school, but now the schools are closed because of Ebola.

They still live in the home where it all happened. Five out of the seven deaths occurred inside.

“I don’t know why I did not get sick,” Siatta says.” I took care of them.”

In September, the whole family was taken to the hospital for surveillance. Famatta did come down with Ebola, and survived.  Little Darius, 6, also tested positive. Both his parents and his sister had died.

“I told people not to come anywhere near me,” he says. “I did not want them to catch Ebola.” Darius remembers becoming very weak, and that the nurses fed him orange juice and biscuits. Against the odds, he eventually recovered from the often-deadly virus.  Now, he washes his hands all the time, and makes sure other children do the same.

And in the last few weeks, Siatta and Famatta’s lives have taken a dramatic turn, as they now are responsible for the children.

“The rest of the family is gone forever, says Siatta.  “We know they are not coming back. We try to comfort the kids.” 

They are also trying to figure out how they can raise the children of the family, hoping that someday they will be able to get scholarships for them so that they can continue their education.

On November 18, the family went to the local hospital to pick up the food rations WFP gives to Ebola survivors and orphans. They received rice, beans, cereals, and oil – enough to last them for the next month.

As they were ready to leave with the bags, little Darius pulled away from his aunt, running towards the people distributing the food. “Thank you,” he told them.

But because of the rules for Ebola prevention, which include no physical contact between individuals, they could not hug each other good bye.

The Stewart family, which lives in a village in central Liberia, lost seven of its members to Ebola in just nine weeks. The two remaining adults - two sisters - are hoping that the rest of their family will be spared. They, like other survivors across the country, are receiving WFP food assistance to help them through the crisis.

11/21/2014 - 16:37

Animated flaming Mockingjay logo from Hunger Games 3 film.

1. Right now, 805 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That's about one in nine people on earth.

2. The vast majority of the world's hungry people live in developing countries, where 13.5 percent of the population is undernourished.

3. Asia is the continent with the most hungry people -- two thirds of the total. The percentage in southern Asia has fallen in recent years but in western Asia it has increased slightly.

4. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest prevalence (percentage of population) of hunger. One person in four there is undernourished.

5. One out of six children -- roughly 100 million -- in developing countries is underweight.

[donation-form] Solving hunger is a great investment in today’s tough economy. When nations work together to solve hunger and invest in good nutrition, they increase productivity and create economic opportunities. Solving hunger is also a contribution to peace and stability. Please help us spread the word, share these hunger facts on your Twitter feed or donate now using the box on the right. 

The latest installment of “The Hunger Games” saga is playing in cinemas around the globe. The film shows an imaginary world in which most of the population lives in hunger and poverty. A fictitious bird, the Mockingjay, symbolizes a rebellion against this state of affairs - with a reluctant young heroine inspiring hope among desperate people. Here are five things that fans of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” could learn to help create a world with zero hunger:

11/20/2014 - 13:30

Trying to get back to a normal life

Christelle lives with her parents, who have been displaced by the conflict,  in ‘Castor camp’.

"Vive la rentree!" 

In her school, 375 children out of the 800 students (47 percent) are displaced, living either in camps or with host families.

The school meals programme is back in action

Children are back to school and so is WFP's school meals programme. These meals provide an incentive for many families to let their children go to school.

The only meal of the day

Very often, the plate of rice and beans, provided at school, is the only meal of the day for many children.

In the next 10 months WFP aims to feed 250,000 children

Thanks to the World Bank and Canada, the two main donors, over 250,000 children will benefit from WFP school meals in CAR from November through August.

A national event

National Minister of Education, Gisele BEDAN, visited Christelle's school to celebrate the opening day.

Food will be shared with the family

Christelle and a friend bring some of their food back home in a small plastic bag to share with their brothers and sisters.

A country still in need

According to recent food security assessments, more than 1.5 million people are still food insecure (32 percent of the population)

After several delays due to insecurity, many schools have opened today in the conflict-torn Central African Republic (C.A.R.) As children are back in class, WFP's  school meals programme has restarted.  We followed Christelle, a 8 year old girl in second grade, during her first day of school in the capital Bangui, after a break of four months. 

11/19/2014 - 17:21
Nutrition, School Meals

Bhubaneswar – Roopteshwar Adhikari is 12-years-old and rarely sees his parents. They live 1,500 km away in Bangalore, where they work as day labourers. He lives with his grandmother and two sisters in Gajapati.
Every day, his grandmother cooks plain rice for the children. So, one of the things Roopteshwar likes about school is the different food he gets there.
“I have been in this school for the last two years. I eat food in school every day. I eat rice, lentils, soybean, potato, egg curry. My favourite is the egg curry,” he says, noting that at school he gets what he called ‘iron rice’.

“At home I eat plain rice but in school I get iron rice. I like the iron rice. I know it makes more blood and makes me stronger.”
Since 2013, WFP has been working with the Government of Odisha in fortifying the rice served in the school meals in Gajapati with iron. The goal is to address the astounding levels of anaemia in the district. Roopteshwar is one of about 100,000 children who eat this fortified rice in their school meals every day.

As part of its strategy to address food and nutrition issues and also to boost school attendance and academic performance, India has a national school feeding programme which reaches about 120 million children. It’s called the Mid Day Meal scheme (MDM) and is implemented by State Governments.
The MDM scheme supplies freshly cooked meals to school children aged 6-14 in educational institutions all over the country, among them the P.U.P School Adashra, Badigam, where Roopteshwar studies in class 7.

A recent evaluation of the fortified rice pilot in the district indicated that levels of anaemia have decreased by 5%. WFP is working with the Government of Odisha to explore the possibilities of scaling up the intervention to benefit more school children. 

“I want the iron rice to continue in my school meal,” Roopteshwar says. “I want to be stronger because when I am older I want to be a teacher. I don’t want to go away from Gajapati, I will stay here and teach in a school. This extra iron will help me.”


WFP helps the government enhance school meals in the Indian State of Odisha with iron-fortified rice. The initiative has won the approval of Roopteshwar, a schoolboy in the Gajapati district of eastern India.

11/19/2014 - 07:01

Anastine Niyokwera, 20 years of age, shows remarkable agility when she is sewing. Just a year after learning how to sew through a food-for-training project initiated by WFP, she can now earn her own living and provide for her family.

Anastine is a returnee, the fourth child of a family of seven. Before she returned to Burundi from Tanzania in 2010, she had been a sixth-year primary school student in Mtabila refugee camp in Tanzania, where she lived. After coming back to her home country, she was downgraded to second year. It was very difficult for her to accept.

“I almost got depressed because of this decision, which, it seems, was motivated by my lack of French proficiency,” she said.

New Skills
One Sunday, Anastine went to church. Towards the end of the mass, she heard an announcement that invited poor families to register their young adult with CONSEDI, a local NGO and WFP partner, for handicrafts training.

"I did not hesitate a second," Anastine says. WFP provided food during the three-month training to enable students to concentrate on learning without having to worry about earning money to buy food.

Anastine chose to study sewing. It was a skill she knew nothing about when she joined four other girls at the Garukundabe sewing workshop.

"The boss began by showing me how to take the measurements, how to design a simple skirt. As I got skilled, I gained trust of my boss to the point that he began entrusting me with clients’ orders,” she says proudly. “I came to the point where he could give me a tall order."

She also learned about setting up a cooperative and opening and managing a bank account.

Proudly Earning A Living
Today, with the training and the equipment provided by WFP, Anastine earns enough money to meet her everyday life needs.

"A simple skirt is about 5,000 Burundi francs (US$3). With four or five orders per month, I also provide food for my family," she explains

The WFP food-for-training project in her village has benefitted 129 vulnerable people, mainly returnees, and their families.

"We are really grateful for this assistance. It is very important for young people, especially returnees, that WFP continues to support us," she added with a smile.

In 2014, WFP-Burundi continued to support the reintegration of Burundian returnees in their communities. This was done through food-for-assets and food-for-training activities bringing together host communities and former refugees returning to Burundi from neighboring countries. In Makamba, a province in eastern Burundi with a high concentration of returnees, people who participated in a WFP food-for-training project can now earn a living.