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03/02/2015 - 12:12

What we’re doing to promote women’s empowerment

At the World Food Programme, our work to promote women’s empowerment focuses on inclusiveness, on giving women, men, girls and boys equal access to resources and opportunities, and an equal say in the decisions that shape their world. Here are six ways we’re working to help make it happen.


1. Free school meals

Hunger prevents young girls from reaching their full potential. Our school feeding initiative helps keep girls in schools, and lowers dropout rates. School helps girls concentrate in class, allowing them to flourish into educated, empowered young women who have the capacity to become the entrepreneurs and political leaders of tomorrow.

2. Improving access to education

As well as helping girls who are already at school, we’re working hard to continue improving access to primary and secondary education. We’re reducing the gender gap by using take-home food as an incentive to families to send their daughters to school.

3. Supporting access to adequate nutrition

Keeping adolescent girls in schools gives them a better education and contributes to raising the age at which they marry or have children.  It’s very important that we continue to provide food assistance to pregnant women and nursing mothers as well as to children under five and adolescent girls, because we know that healthy, educated women have the potential to ensure that the next generation of girls and boys enjoys better food security and better nutrition.  

4. Putting women in charge of food distribution

We’ve found that in the hands of women, food is far more likely to reach the mouths of the family members who need it most. We try to ensure that as many women as men represent the community’s needs for food assistance, by giving them a voice on food distribution committees and trying to ensure that food is distributed fairly within the family.

5. Empowering women farmers

Women farmers have difficulties getting the same access to tools, fertilizers, seeds and credit as men. We’re committed to working with women farmers to secure their financial and social empowerment. For example, our Purchase for Progress (P4P) covered twenty countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America and trained 200,000 women in numerous aspects of agricultural production and other skills. By the end of the pilot phase of the project, 36 percent of leadership positions were held by women.

6. Involving men and boys in the discussion

Gender inequality isn’t just about women. We believe that involving men and boys in the discussion is critical for success because if we are to eliminate hunger in our lifetime we need to understand and meet the different needs of the people – women, men, boys and girls whom we serve.

Photo gallery: Meet Achuol

A day in the life of Achuol, a woman who does it all.


Find out more




Did you know that in many parts of the world, especially in Asia and South America, women are more likely to go hungry than men? That’s despite the fact that in many countries, women do most of the agricultural work as well as being responsible for preparing food.

This inequality needs to change if we’re to achieve our mission to end global hunger. Through paid and unpaid work, women make as significant a contribution to rural economies as men, and we believe that they are central to combating and preventing world hunger. That’s why globally, this International Women’s Day, we’re emphasizing our belief that empowering women empowers humanity.

03/02/2015 - 10:11

Five-year-old Kamohelo Malikhetle is in her final year at the Thuto-Ke-Leseli Preschool in Lesotho and she’s already thinking big. 

She wants to be a nurse when she grows up and is excited about starting primary school next year. “I am happy that I will be going to a big school next year,” Kamohelo says as she sips a cup of porridge. For the past two years Kamohelo has enjoyed her classes, playtime with her friends and the two meals she has received every day through WFP’s school meals programme. 

Maramoqhotsane Masoetsa serves food to five-year-old Kamohelo Malikhetle. (Photo: WFP/Tsitsi Matope)

Thuto-Ke-Leseli, which means “education is light”, is located in Ha-Mohasoa village and is one of many rural preparatory schools outside the capital Maseru on the South African border. Here children learn, play and eat together – developing their minds and bodies in preparation for the next stage of their education. The preschoolers receive morning porridge and a lunchtime meal to improve their stamina and learning capacity.

[quote|"With the provision of food, the class keeps growing.”]Keeping up with the lively children is not an easy task for the two teachers who take care of 77 children of different ages. All of them are in a single class. But Maramoqhotsane Masoetsa says working with children is her passion. “When I started working here, we did not have as many children,” Masoetsa says. “With the provision of food, the class keeps growing.” 

School Meals Fight Malnutrition

Food insecurity is high in Lesotho affecting more than 500,000 people or nearly one quarter of the population. Chronic malnutrition is widespread and 39% of children under age five suffer from poor growth known as stunting. 

Mapoloko Mapane prepares papa, a dish made from maize meal provided by WFP. (Photo: WFP/Tsitsi Matope)

At this preschool more than half the children do not have enough to eat at home. Attending class is not only about furthering their education, it’s a sure way to escape hunger. “We started receiving food from WFP in 2011 and that has made a huge difference,” says Masoetsa. 
Although each child is expected to pay M250 (around US$ 20) per term, many families are so poor they cannot afford the school fees. “We can’t chase the children away because we know what the food they get here means to them,” she says. 

A Vital Investment In A Child's Future

[story|645340|645169|645178|644341]WFP’s school meals programme is designed to address micronutrient deficiencies in the children’s diet, promote their development and encourage parents to keep their children in preschool until they are ready to begin their primary education.
This year WFP will provide 50,000 children in 2,000 preschools throughout the country with a mix of super cereal porridge, beans, vegetable oil and maize-meal.  WFP is also building kitchens and storerooms for schools in five districts.

Good nutrition helps to improve student attentiveness inside the classroom while providing a safety net for the children and their families. “Unlike before, I am now able to help more children,” says Masoetsa.  “I hope the help can continue so we help to reduce malnourishment among children in our village.”

Rorisang Chabalala, aged three, says she likes the super cereal porridge which she eats with other students. (Photo: WFP/Tsitsi Matope)

Sister Alexius Mohanoe is the manager of the St Ambrose Day and Boarding Preschool in Ha-Masana village in rural Maseru. The school has 48 children and Sister Alexius says WFP’s food assistance is essential for improving their health and nutrition.

“We would like to appeal to WFP to continue helping us,” she says. “The food is nutritious, our children are healthy and they like it.”


WFP provided school meals to nearly 250,000 children in preschools and schools in Lesotho in 2014 while 190,000 children received two meals a day at school through a Government-led programme. WFP is helping the Government to take control of the national programme by 2018.

International School Meals Day on 5 March recognizes the vital role that school meals play in fighting hunger and promoting children’s development. 

02/26/2015 - 16:58

1) For the kubbeh crust, soak the bulgur wheat in half a litre of water for two hours, then drain the water.

2) Remove excess water by squeezing the bulgur using two hands. Add half a kilogram of the ground meat with some salt and pepper seasoning. Place in a food processor and process to a smooth paste.

3)  For the kubbeh stuffing, fry the rest of the ground meat with the finely chopped onions. Add salt, pepper, all spice and pomegranate molases. Once cooked add the pomegranate seeds.

4)  Take an egg sized amount of the crust mixture and form into a ball. Shape a hole in the ball to make a space for the filling. Add filling and pinch the top to seal the ball. Shape the ball into an egg shape.

5)  Fry the ball 10 minutes until golden brown....

6) Enjoy the dish with your family :)

Cash And Vouchers

Photo: WFP/Jane Howard

WFP delivers hundreds of thousands of tons of food each year, but, increasingly, we give hungry people cash or vouchers to buy food for themselves. Read More


Photo: WFP/Eyad Al Baba

[donation-form]WFP uses innovative ways to deliver food assistance, such as scratch cards or “e-vouchers” sent to mobile phones by text message.
WFP and the Turkish Red Crescent launched the e-food card programme in 2012 in Turkey. The initative enables Syrian refugees to cook their own meals using fresh ingredients they can buy in the local markets. Read more about WFP's E-Food card programme (PDF 1.48 MB)

Welcome to WFP's new recipe series. Explore the culinary treasures and cooking abilities of refugees who benefit from WFP's Cash And Vouchers, an initiative that allows individuals to buy the food they need to cook their traditional dishes

02/25/2015 - 21:24
Food For Assets

“To tell you the truth, at the beginning I didn’t believe in this project… But I have changed my mind,” said Leonardo Yorlis Lopez Moreira, a farmer of the Gabriel Valente cooperative in Cuba’s Eastern province of Guantanamo. His change of heart happened in little more than six months after the start of the World Food Programme project in Guantanamo and Matanzas provinces to improve food security.

We have learned a lot!” admits Mr Lopez Moreira, who produces beans for the cooperative. “Working with WFP to prepare a business plan for our cooperative and for our own farm has been very good. We had no idea about production costs, or what it took for our production to reach the table of those people who really need it. Now we know how to calculate costs and we can apply it not only to the beans but to everything we do”.

The formulation of business plans is part of the support provided by WFP to 1,500 farmers in this project financed by Canada. It has two simple and interlinked goals: to increase the farmers and cooperatives’ production of beans, Cuba’s main staple food; and, to provide the right amount and quality of beans for meals provided by the national safety net programmes to some 61,000 people in schools, centers for elderly people and maternity homes in the two provinces where the project is active.

By the end of its three-year duration, this initiative aims to increase bean production to meet 50 percent of the needs of the Guantanamo province for its safety-net programmes. At the moment, the province only produces enough to cover 30 percent of those needs.

This approach will also be applied in other provinces of Cuba as part of the newly launched WFP Country Programme for 2015-2018, designed to support Cuba’s efforts to update its economic model. Improving agricultural production, and improving the efficiency, and sustainability of social protection programmes, while ensuring that no Cuban is left unprotected is central to this process.

Consulted, congregated and trained
Through a very participatory process of consultation, farmers, cooperative leaders, and representatives of all the other levels of the beans’ value chain – from production to consumption – identified their needs.

“The fact that you first trained us; that we had the opportunity to learn makes this project a pioneer. I had never heard about value chain. Now I have new tools to work and to increase my production”, said Juana Nápoles Guzmán, president of the Sabino Pupo farmers’ cooperative, also in the Guantanamo province. “The plan is to increase the production of beans from 0.7 metric tons per hectare to 1.3… but, I want to do it by next year!”

More than 20 Cuban and international technical, social and financial partners are working with WFP on this project. “Bringing us all together to work towards the same goal has been a great gift. Having all different levels of expertise all integrated has been very innovative for us”, said Enrique Cagdevila, a lecturer at the University of Guantanamo who has been training and supporting the members of the nine cooperatives on the formulation of business plans.

Women’s contribution to the bean value chain is often invisible. Very few women are members of the cooperative, and their work is considered as pure support to that of men. But that too, seems to be changing.

“In my cooperative among more than 160 members there were only four women. But since I became president, in December 2014, the number of women has increased to 41 and I want to make sure that more women become involved in this project”, said Nápoles Guzmán.

The extensive network of partners involved in this project include the National Association of Smallholder Farmers, the Soil Institute, the National Seed Company (ES), the Credit and Commerce Bank, National Insurance Company, the Water Resource Institute, as well as the Guantanamo University, the Provincial Health and Education Departments, the Federation of Cuban Women, Oxfam and the Government of Canada.

Cuban farmers have worked mostly under a centralized model of agriculture, with the State providing inputs at highly subsidized prices and buying all their production at a fixed price. Now, as a result of Cuba’s ongoing process to update its economic model, new opportunities have been created for farmers to sell their products privately. But they need to adapt to meet new targets and seize these opportunities.

02/25/2015 - 10:32

It is the first funding WFP has received from the European Union’s Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace (ICSP), set up to respond to crises, prevent conflicts and consolidate peace. WFP will assist over 80,000 returnees (60 percent of them children) and 320,000 people from the host communities through a food voucher programme, which will enable them to buy and choose the food that they need in the local markets, strengthening at the same time the local economy and local agricultural production.

“This funding is important to WFP, as it enables us to reach out to both returnees and host communities with food assistance on a larger scale for the first time. Returnees and host communities have been sharing strained resources and infrastructure for several years now. This assistance will help strengthen communities’ cohesion and resilience, and building peace,” said WFP Chad Acting Country Director Peter Musoko.

Chad continues to be affected by cyclical crises on its own territory (droughts, floods, health epidemics) and by conflict in neighbouring countries (Central African Republic, Nigeria, Sudan, Libya), with the consequent influx of refugees and returnees.

The arrival of over 80,000 returnees from C.A.R. with little or no resources has been putting considerable pressure on infrastructure and services, and on host communities who have been struggling to recover from reoccurring crises.

The €1.1 million is part of a €7 million donation from the European Union, which enables United Nations agencies and partners (including, FAO, IOM, UNHCR, UNICEF and WFP) to respond in a concerted way and address the different needs of the returnees and host communities during an 18-month period (January 2015 – July 2016).

The Government of Chad has developed a Global Response Plan to support the reintegration of returnees, which is supported by WFP. WFP provided food assistance to over 77,000 returnees up until December 2014, and cash vouchers to 30,000 returnees and vulnerable local populations each month from March to December 2014.



N’DJAMENA: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a donation of €1.1 million (US$1.25 million) from the European Union to support the reintegration of thousands of Chadian returnees who have fled violence in the Central African Republic, as well as vulnerable host communities.

02/25/2015 - 10:17

In 2013, in the community of Ekoulkoala, in the central-western area of the country, about 1,050 people (175 households) cleared 14 hectares – almost 35 acres – of  undeveloped land, receiving cash for their hard work. Now, rather than lying uncultivated, this land is used to produce rice during the rainy season and for gardening in the dry season.

They are part of WFP's Cash for Assets (CFA) programme, which can bring immediate advantages to a community in terms of food security and nutrition. The increased field acreage enabled community members to grow more food, and cope better with potential climate shocks.

54-year-old Suzanne Kando benefited from the CFA programme in 2013 and continues to work with fellow community members to farm the land.

“Before the activities, I worked with my husband in our family field. My income from selling eggplants was about USD $150, and we only ate one meal a day. This year, I expanded the garden. With the extra income, I can contribute to our family needs, and we worry less about money for food, school fees or medical care.”

By helping to ensure that the poor have access to food, and addressing the root causes of food insecurity and vulnerability, Cash for Assets programmes contribute to a key pillar of food security:  “100 percent access to adequate food all year round.”

In Burkina Faso, the programme has helped to develop natural resources, improve community's access to infrastructure, and provide an income-generating activity.  

Thanks to support from Germany of USD 2.6 million in 2014, WFP has been able to resume these types of activities across four regions after they were suspended due to lack of funding. 

The World Food Programme's Cash for Assets (CFA) programmes bring immediate benefits to vulnerable communities.

02/23/2015 - 17:56

The selection process was certainly not easy, but after much deliberation the competition judges Jamie Oliver and photographer Chris Terry chose Ari’s family photo from Laos and Breech’s picture from the Philippines. For the public vote, Darine’s picture showing street children in Burundi enjoying their Sunday meal received 175 votes.
We set you a challenge, and you certainly delivered!

The Winning Photos

The first two photos were selected by Jamie Oliver. The third photo was selected by the public.


Other Great Photos

Although these photos weren't selected as winners, they are great photos of family meals from around the world.



A huge thanks to everyone who has joined the photo contest that WFP has launched together with celebrity chef and campaigner Jamie Oliver! We received photos from 32 countries all over the world, highlighting what the family meal means to you and your loved ones. 

02/23/2015 - 17:43

On 19 February, an inaguration ceremony took place in Fria, a town in Lower Guinea, to mark the resumption of WFP's school feeding programme across the country. The ceremony was attended by the First Lady of Guinea, the Minister of Education, and WFP Guinea Country Director.

Before the Ebola outbreak – and until June 2014 – WFP was assisting 735 schools across Guinea, reaching more than 100,000 school children. This year, WFP has expanded its school feeding programme, and as of February, it is planning to provide one nutritious meal per day to more than 110,000 students in 808 schools.


This year, WFP is also supporting about 70,000 girls in primary school with take-home food rations.  

In Fria, WFP provides a school meal to 1,800 children – including 700 girls.

Photos: ©Alessandra PICCOLO/WFP

Because of Ebola, public schools in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone remained closed after the July-August 2014 break, depriving five million children of months of education. Public schools started to re-open in Guinea on 19 January, and WFP has gradually begun to resume its school feeding programme on the last week of January.

02/20/2015 - 15:12
Climate Change, Nutrition, Logistics, Preventing Hunger, Responding to Emergencies

What we’ve achieved:

  1. Feeding 288,000 flood-affected people (and counting)

Within 72 hours of the President declaring a state of natural disaster in Malawi, WFP began distributing life-saving food assistance to the flood-affected population. To date, WFP has reached more than 288,000 flood-affected people with food assistance.  Given the magnitude of the disaster, WFP also called in air support for the first time in Malawi’s history. WFP airlifted High Energy Biscuits from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Dubai to provide the most vulnerable, particularly children, with ready-to-eat meals. This has been crucial for those who have displaced from their homes and are without access to food or cooking facilities.

  1. Flying over broken roads to deliver humanitarian assistance

The floods have destroyed roads and rendered some areas entirely inaccessible by land. Determined to reach the most food-insecure people, WFP has transported some 200 metric tonnes of food and other vital relief items via helicopter to these areas. As co-leader of the Logistics Cluster—a working group of Government and humanitarian counterparts in the country focused on logistical issues—WFP has been transporting tents, mosquito nets, plastic sheets and other non-food items on behalf of the humanitarian community to the flood-affected population. Some 550 humanitarian personnel have also been transported by WFP air operations to deliver relief assistance and provide life-saving services.

  1. A strong and rapid response with partners

WFP is working with 11 NGO partners (two local and nine international) to respond quickly in the affected districts and scale-up assistance. Being able to immediately mobilize partners means that those in need have been promptly identified, registered and receiving WFP food assistance.


What happens next:

  1. Keep up the momentum

While the intensity of flooding has let up, it continues to rain and the wet season is forecasted to last through March.  In some areas where flood waters begin to recede, swaths of land where people once lived emerge with scattered debris of homes, belongings and farmlands that have become beaches of sand. Many people have lost everything and still urgently require food assistance. WFP is participating in a join rapid food security assessment in order to understand latest needs on the ground, whilst continuing to rapidly move food to maintain the food and nutrition security of those in need. The known number of food insecure people will likely increase, especially given the rising threat of a cholera outbreak – twenty cases have been confirmed by the Ministry of Health so far, with one death. As a contingency measure, the UN has already positioned chlorine supplies to treat contaminated water for up to 500 people.

  1. Focusing on the most vulnerable

In a country where 42 percent of young children are chronically undernourished, a disaster of this scale causes tremendous nutritional risks. This is especially the case for women and children. WFP is working with partners to identify and treat cases of acute malnutrition, as well as to provide beneficiaries information on water, hygiene, and sanitation issues so that food assistance is consumed in a safe and sanitary environment. While the general ration now includes Super Cereal, WFP will move towards tailored assistance by providing children under age five fortified blended foods to help prevent micronutrient deficiencies. As WFP acquires more demographic data, it will continue to adapt the response to meet the needs of the most vulnerable.

  1. Mapping the route to recovery

The road to recovery will be long and difficult. Collective efforts are needed to restore food security and rebuild the livelihoods of many. WFP is working with the Government and other partners to identify links to other nutrition and social protection programmes and to initiate early recovery activities at the earliest possible stage, building on investments in context analysis and community planning already made in four districts in particular. This is essential to expedite the transition out of an emergency response and start to build communities’ resilience to withstand future natural disasters and economic shocks.

One month after historic floods engulfed much of southern Malawi in January 2015, devastating the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands, WFP continues to respond to the crisis by providing food assistance to flood-affected people and logistics support to the entire humanitarian community. 

02/18/2015 - 17:16

1) Mix all ingredients with hot water and let them sit for 15 minutes.

2) Scoop round pieces of falafel paste using a spoon.

...or use this special falafel-making tool (so much better!)

3) Put the oil in a frying pan and wait until it is hot.


4) Fry the pieces in the hot oil.

5) Et Voila! The falafel are ready. 

Chef's tip: Serve the Falafel with some Hummus! 

Cash And Vouchers

Photo: WFP/Jane Howard

WFP delivers hundreds of thousands of tons of food each year, but, increasingly, we give hungry people cash or vouchers to buy food for themselves. Read More


Photo: WFP/Eyad Al Baba

[donation-form]WFP uses innovative ways to deliver food assistance, such as scratch cards or “e-vouchers” sent to mobile phones by text message.
WFP and the Turkish Red Crescent launched the e-food card programme in 2012 in Turkey. The initative enables Syrian refugees to cook their own meals using fresh ingredients they can buy in the local markets. Read More

Welcome to WFP's new recipe series. Explore the culinary treasures and cooking abilities of refugees who benefit from WFP's Cash And Vouchers, an initiative that allows individuals to buy the food they need to cook their traditional dishes.