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07/20/2016 - 06:46

Seven year old Smriti walks an hour each way to get to school every day. For Smriti and her friends who make the long journey from a small village in mid-western Nepal together, Janta Primary School is not just a school, but a place that can help them fulfill their hopes and dreams. As Smriti says: “I go to school to get an education, so that when I grow up, I can be a teacher.”

Poverty and food insecurity are rampant in Smriti’s district of Dailekh, as a result of high food prices and a series of natural disasters that have left people struggling to cope. Vulnerable families are forced to skip meals or sell valuable assets in order to buy food. The literacy rate, at 52 percent, is far below the overall national literacy rate of 81 percent. Very often, parents struggle to feed their children and even send them to school. 

In order to combat food insecurity and low literacy rates, WFP started a School Meals Programme in 1996 to enable struggling families to invest in basic primary education. The programme includes a special focus on girls, given that for many, even when they do get to go to school, household responsibilities mean getting any study done outside of school can be difficult. Educating children, particularly girls, is a fundamental step towards ensuring inclusive development, reducing poverty and discrimination, and improving food security. 

With the generous support of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), WFP helps the Government of Nepal’s National School Meals Programme (SMP) provide nutritious haluwa, made of fortified cereal, to over 190,000 school children across the country on a daily basis. 

For the students of Janta Primary School, this meal helps ensure they have access to education. “I like the haluwa they give me at school. It tastes good, it fills my stomach, and keeps me from getting hungry throughout the day” says Smriti. As Principal Bhagawati Thapa explains “To increase and maintain regular attendance, we provide a nutritious mid-day meal to all our students that come to school. This food plays a pivotal role in attracting children to come to school”. 

Text and photos: WFP/ Sikha Thapa

Growing up as a girl in a poor rural village in Nepal involves many challenges. For children like Smriti, benefiting from regular school meals means getting nutritious meals and staying in school are two fewer challenges to worry about.

07/19/2016 - 13:20

Rupa Bohara has been the sole bread-winner in her family since her husband died in 2001. Raising two sons alone in a country torn by conflict was a daunting task for a young woman, particularly with her younger son’s physical disability as a result of polio.  [story|] 

[quote|“It was an extremely difficult time for me to feed my family, educate them in school, and also give extra care to my youngest.”] “It was an extremely difficult time for me to feed my family, educate them in school, and also give extra care to my youngest” recalls Rupa. Her own agriculture production was barely enough to feed the family for six months. During the remaining half of the year, she worked as a porter carrying heavy loads in order to put food on the table.

For Rupa, the opportunity to grow and sell her own apples has helped her to turn her life around. 

Rupa’s is one of 120 families to receive support from a WFP-supported apple farming project in Pandusain, a village in the far western district of Bajura. The project was implemented under the Quick Impact Programme which was designed to support local people affected by the conflict, with financial and technical cooperation from WFP. 

Starting in 2008, WFP provided local community members with 6,000 apple saplings worth 120,000 rupees(US$ 1100). For every apple sapling planted WFP also provided five kg of rice. 

For the Bohara family, the apple farming programme provided indispensable support. “I planted 150 apple saplings in the initial years, and added 50 more this year. The sapling was free of charge and the rice provided by WFP helped me feed my family” Rupa said. 

The project was boosted following WFP's construction of a 42 kilometre stretch of road between nearby Martadi and Kolti, which meant fruit traders could come to the farmers' doorsteps to buy directly from them rather than farmers having to travel to markets with their produce. With the success of the programme, farmers have begun to start buying saplings on their own in order to expand their apple farms, with apple trees now covering up to seven hectares of land along the Martadi-Kolti road section.

[quote|“The money I make helps me buy food, educate my children, and I no longer have to work long hours as a porter.”] Since 2013 Rupa has been able to sell apples from her farm. Now, she has little trouble in meeting the needs of her household, caring for, feeding, and educating her sons.  “I earn around 100,000 rupees (US$930) each season from selling my apples. The money I make helps me buy food, educate my children, and I no longer have to work long hours as a porter” says Rupa. “This year we lost so much of our crops due to the drought, but the money I made from selling apples has enabled me to buy food”.

Story and photos © Ramjee Dahal.


The Quick Impact Programme was implemented by WFP to assist the population affected by the conflict in the nine most affected districts in the mid and far western region with thanks to funding provided by DFID and multipartner donors.   

An apple farming project in Nepal has changed the lives of women affected by conflict. For one widow, it has helped her feed and educate her children, while for her community it has provided jobs and a connection to the wider world.

07/14/2016 - 13:13

1) Nigeria is a food deficit country and is Africa’s largest importer of rice. 

2) One third of children under 5 are stunted. That’s twice the rate of Thailand and three times that of Tunisia. 

3) A child in the remote northwestern region of Nigeria – where stunting rates are around 55 percent – is four times more likely to experience malnutrition than a child in the south. 

4) At the same time, child obesity is increasing and 33 percent of adults are obese or overweight. That’s roughly on par with Singapore.

5) Nearly half of women of reproductive age (48.5 percent) are anaemic. This ranks Nigeria 172th best out of 185 countries.  

6) Conflict with Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria has left a large part of the population without access to enough food, water and health services. 

7) Displacement, lack of access to many locations, high inflation and reduced purchasing power of communities are worsening the food security situation in northeastern Nigeria. 

8) Over 3 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance due to conflict.  

9) In March 2016, WFP began providing cash transfers via mobile phones to displaced persons and host communities in critical areas. This gives them the opportunity to buy the food they need.

10) In partnership with the Government and other agencies such as UNICEF, WFP is scaling up its assistance in northeastern Nigeria to reach a total of 431,000 people in desperate need, including malnourished children and pregnant and nursing women.

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

Sources: Global Nutrition ReportWHOFews net

Conflict is compromizing the food security and nutrition of millions of Nigerians. Here are ten things to know.  

07/12/2016 - 14:11

Preliminary results from the annual vulnerability assessments released by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) indicate that some 33 million in the region’s countries worst-hit by drought will be food insecure at the height of the lean season later this year and into 2017. It is estimated that some 18 million people in these countries now need urgent food assistance.

WFP has categorized the southern Africa region as a Level 3 Corporate Response, with immediate effect until September 2016. Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland and Zimbabwe have declared national states of emergency due to drought. Namibia has also declared a drought disaster and all but one of South Africa’s nine provinces, which account for 90 percent of the country’s maize production, have been declared drought disaster areas.

WFP is rapidly scaling up life-saving operations for the most vulnerable communities in the worst-affected countries. WFP is working to reach growing numbers of people with food and cash-based relief while strengthening resilience building. By January 2017, WFP aims to assist some 11.5 million drought-affected people in the region through a combination of programmes. The balance of needs are expected to be addressed by both governments and non-government counterparts.

WFP urgently needs to secure US $ 200 million to meet needs between October and December, including for transport and pre-positioning of food in areas likely to get cut off once the rainy season begins in November. Over the next 12 months, WFP is facing an overall shortfall of US $ 610 million (more than 80 percent shortfall).


Results from the 2016 SADC Vulnerability Assessment results indicate that 709,000 people – a third of the population – are food insecure and that 491,000 need emergency assistance. Prevalence of HIV/AIDS has climbed from 23 to 25 percent of the population and cases of acute malnutrition have flared above the 2.7 percent national average. WFP has started both cash and food assistance to 263,000 people in the most affected areas. Read more.

​Photo: WFP/Tsitsi Matope


Results from the 2016 SADC Vulnerability Assessment indicate that 1.1 million people are food insecure and that 665,000 people need emergency assistance in the south of the island which has suffered three consecutive years of drought (these numbers are projections). WFP is targeting vulnerable people in the worst-hit parts of south Madagascar with a combination of food and cash-based assistance. WFP is also scaling up supplementary feeding to prevent malnutrition among children. In February 2016, acute malnutrition rates reached an average eight percent among the most severely food insecure children. Read more.

Photo: WFP/Volana Rarivoson


Some 6.5 million people – 39 percent of the population – need emergency food assistance, according to the 2016 SADC Vulnerability Assessment results. This is necessitating the largest humanitarian response ever in the country’s history. WFP will target at least 4.5 million people with a mix of food and cash-based assistance linked increasingly with the creation of productive assets such as community vegetable gardens and irrigation systems. Funding is urgently required to pre-position food stocks in remote areas ahead of the November rains and so that lives and livelihoods can be protected. Parts of the drought-affected south are also prone to flooding during the rainy season. Read more.

Photo: WFP/Malawi


Nearly 2 million people are in need of emergency food assistance, according to the 2016 SADC Vulnerability Assessment results (this number is a projection). Of this number, WFP aims to reach 700,000 of the most vulnerable people who are unable to access food to meet their daily needs, through to April 2017.  Poor harvests, combined with currency devaluations, have resulted in a staggering 148 percent increase in the price of white maize. Recent surveys show alarming levels of acute malnutrition in the provinces of Tete, Sofala and Manica. Read more.

​Photo: WFP/Abdoulaye Balde


Results from the 2016 SADC Vulnerability Assessment indicate that 350,000 people – one third of the population - are in need of emergency assistance. Water sources have declined by more than 50 percent due to lack of rain. WFP is scaling up its emergency relief operation to reach 100,000 vulnerable people in the most severely affected areas of the country by the end of the year and an additional 50,000 people with cash-based transfers. Swaziland has a very high prevalence of HIV/AIDS – 26 percent among the adult population (15-49 years). Findings from a comprehensive joint health and nutrition assessment in March revealed a deterioration in the health status of people living with HIV/AIDS. Read more.

Photo: WFP/Theresa Piorr


While there are nearly 1 million people in Zambia requiring urgent food relief, the Zambian government has not asked WFP for emergency support. Home-grown school meals, which WFP runs jointly with the Government, are targeting nearly a quarter of a million children in drought-affected districts of the south. WFP is currently engaged in a resilience-building project (R4) aimed at smallholder farmers in the south. The Organization has also deployed innovative digital technology to support the tracking of prices, market access, food quality and supply chain efficiency, by getting respondents to supply vital food security data on their mobile telephones. Most urgently, funds are required for the associated costs to distribute 1,620 mt of maize donated by the government for school meals and to complete distributions for the third school term, which runs from September to December 2016. Read more. 

Photo: WFP/Evin Joyce


The 2016 SADC Vulnerability Assessment results show that more than 4 million people – 44 percent of the rural population – are in need of emergency food assistance. Malnutrion has reached or exceeded emergency in a number of districts. WFP is working to provide food and cash assistance to 1.3 million of the most vulnerable people, scaling up to 2.2 million by January 2017. As much as is possible, food assistance is being integrated with food- or cash-for-work programmes involving the creation or repair of water harvesting and irrigation systems. Also, in collaboration with the government, WFP is initiating an emergency school feeding programme as a short term safety net. Read more.

Photo: WFP/Sophia Robele

Southern Africa is facing a major food security crisis following successive years of drought, most recently as a result of the El Niño weather event which meant reduced rains for the region’s crucial 2015-16 agricultural season. Many countries experienced poor or failed harvests in April this year, leaving millions of people with little or no food to sustain them till next year’s harvest. 

07/12/2016 - 04:39

The southern state of Kerala has some of the lowest malnutrition rates in India – but according to WHO standards, the rates are still unacceptably high. Nearly a quarter of children under five (24.1 percent) are wasted, while one in five is underweight (20.9 percent) or stunted (22.7 percent). While nutrient deficiencies affect people of all ages, it is particularly high and worrisome for children between the ages of one and three years.,

National response to child malnutrition

One of the main programmes to address malnutrition in India is the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme, under the aegis of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

In the ICDS programme, state governments provide a comprehensive package of services to pregnant women and new mothers, as well as to children under the age of six. Take-home rations to supplement children’s diets are an important part of this programme,.

In Kerala, under the ICDS programme, children between the ages of six months and three years are given a blended food locally known as nutri-mix or amrutham at their local anganwadi centers.

Produced by women’s self-help groups known as neighborhood groups, nutri-mix is a non-fortified product that meets the caloric and protein content norms laid down by the Government of India. The programme reaches nearly three quarters (73 percent) of children of this age group.

Now WFP is using its global food fortification expertise to work with the Government of Kerala to pilot the fortification of nutri-mix with additional vitamins and minerals.

From blended food to super food

WFP plans to set up and run a demonstration fortification unit within an existing nutri-mix production unit located in Wayanad, Kerala. During this first phase of the pilot, the unit will reach 2,779 children with fortified nutri-mix.

At the same time, WFP will also determine what it would take to scale up production to reach all children aged six months to three years in Kerala with the more nutritious product. WFP and the Government of Kerala expect to reach universal coverage of fortified nutri-mix by 2018.

Cost To The Community

The impact of child malnutrition can be felt not just by children themselves, but also by their families and community.

Malnourished children are much more likely to suffer from infections and permanent impairments, and have a greater chance of dying from common childhood illnesses. Malnourished children may not perform as well as co their well-nourished peers at school, and as adults they are less productive and earn lower wages. Widespread child malnutrition obstructs a nation’s socio-economic development.

According to estimates from the Global Nutrition Report 2016, economic consequences of malnutrition represent losses of up to 11 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) every year in Africa and Asia.

The first 1,000 days are a critical window of opportunity to give a child the best possible start in life for good nutrition for cognitive and physical development. WFP and the government of Kerala are helping parents give their children this essential boost with food distributed through social safety nets.

07/07/2016 - 14:35
Hunger in the news, Responding to Emergencies

On the way to Sithobela in central Swaziland, we came across two dried-up rivers with only thin trickles of water running along their sandy courses. In places, people had dug holes in the river bed to collect some water for themselves or perhaps for their cattle. 

“We worked in our fields but didn’t harvest anything”, says Vuyisile Shabangu (40). “The situation is really very bad, we don’t know what we’re going to eat from one day to the next.”

On a piece of open ground near the road, a few hundred people had gathered for a distribution of rations – maize, yellow peas and vegetable oil - from the World Food Programme. The supplies were being handed out by WFP partners, Save the Children, then measured out and divided up according to household size. Most of those who had gathered there were women, who went about their tasks with efficiency and good humour. 

WFP has launched its relief operation in response to the worst food security crisis in the region in more than two decades. It has been caused by two consecutive years of drought, most recently as a result of the El Niño weather event which meant reduced rains during the growing season. 

Swaziland is one of five countries in the region that has declared a state of disaster and appealed for international assistance. Because the drought is so widespread, casual work in neighbouring South Africa has also dried up and incomes have fallen. Also causing hardship is a rise in prices – maize now costs more than twice what it did a year ago in the Kingdom. 

In Swaziland alone, some 350,000 people are in need of urgent food assistance – that’s nearly a third of the population. 

“It’s been very difficult”, explains Vuyisile. “Since I was born, this is the worst drought I’ve ever experienced. As parents, we often go to bed hungry so our children can eat. Sometimes if they have some food, the neighbours will give us something to eat.”

For now at least, the people who have gathered here will have some food for themselves and their families. But the harsh fact is that the lean season has come early this year and it will be a long time till the next harvest in April. 

To meet the growing needs, WFP is working to scale up its relief operations in support of the government. It will only be able to do so, however, if the necessary funding is secured. 

Emergency relief distributions have begun in Swaziland in response to drought which has resulted in hundreds of thousands of people not having enough to eat.

07/06/2016 - 19:39

One such young person is 28-year-old Peter Mumo. This month, Peter will leave Nairobi, Kenya, for Des Moines, Iowa, to take part in a six-week business and entrepreneurship training hosted by Drake University. Following the academic component of the fellowship, Peter and the rest of the fellows will visit Washington for a three-day summit featuring a town hall with President Obama. Peter will have the opportunity to learn from and engage with U.S. leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

But Peter’s life didn’t start out so promising. He grew up in Makueni County, an impoverished area in eastern Kenya, where drought and subsequent hunger plagued him and his family. Erratic rainfall resulting in crop failures created a dire situation for Peter’s family. They lacked food, clothing, adequate shelter, and access to clean water, among other things.

“Going to school on an empty stomach was the norm for me. I would get sick often. Playing with other kids wasn’t enjoyable for me because I was always emaciated. My siblings and friends were not spared either,” says Peter.

Years of hunger affected Peter’s immune system and his ability to learn in class. Normal childhood illnesses would routinely land Peter in hospitals. Concentrating on school lessons proved virtually impossible on an empty stomach.

But one year, when Peter was nine, things took a turn for the better when WFP introduced its school meals program. Peter and his classmates began receiving breakfast meals and snacks to take home. Peter’s health began to improve and knowing he’d have a meal waiting for him at school allowed him to focus on his studies. Over the years, Peter shot to the top of his class and eventually earned an engineering degree from Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya. 

After graduation, Peter began working in the agricultural industry in Nairobi where he learned of the challenges faced by many of the country’s farmers. While agriculture is the most important economic activity in Kenya, only about 20% of the land is suitable for farming. Improving resilience to climate change and using technology to improve farming systems would help make Kenya’s agricultural sector more viable. 

Peter decided to join those fixing the gaps in Kenya’s agricultural sector. He spearheaded programs that improved water harvesting and storage systems so farmers could have water reserves when rainfall was low. He developed an information support service to help connect farmers across Kenya to optimize productivity. Peter is currently developing a web-based application that will improve access to these services.

“When I was in need someone stepped up and made a significant difference not just for me, but for my entire community. I never dreamed that I’d be in a position to help others one day,” says Peter.

The Mandela Fellows are selected for their accomplishments in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries. For Peter Mumo, this is just the beginning. 

(Picture 1: Peter Mumo at the Botanical Center in Des Moines, Iowa)

(Picture 2: Peter Mumo and classmates in primary school, Makueni County, Kenya)

(Picture 3: Peter Mumo and other Mandela fellows at a leadership training at Drake University)

Each year, nearly 50,000 people apply to the Mandela Washington Fellowship – the flagship program of U.S. President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. Out of the applicants, 1,000 outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa are selected to receive professional development training at various universities across the U.S.

07/05/2016 - 12:06

The World Food Programme's mission is to save lives and livelihoods, and to improve the nutrition, food security and self-reliance of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people.

06/30/2016 - 14:01

1) An estimated 12.7 million children are stunted, meaning that they are too short for their age due to chronic malnutrition. That’s a population the size of Tokyo. 

2) Location has a big impact on nutritional status. The risk of underweight and stunting is 3-4 times higher for children in rural areas than for those in cities. In 2010, 20 percent of children under 5 living in poor regions were stunted, compared to 5 percent in urban areas. 

3) In 2010, 28 percent of rural children between 6 and 12 months old and 21 percent between 13 and 24 months still suffered from anaemia. 

4) However, the overall situation is improving. China reduced the level of undernourishment in the country from 23.9 percent in 1990-92 to 9.3 percent in 2014-16.

5) Rates of child malnutrition are dropping. From 1990 to 2010, the number of underweight children under 5 fell by 74 percent and rates of stunting dropped by 70 percent. Current levels are lower than most other developing countries. 

Chinese girl eating
Photo: WFP/China

6) China alone accounts for almost two thirds of the total reduction in the number of undernourished people in developing regions since 1990. 

7) Better nutrition has significantly improved the health and quality of life of Chinese children. Mortality in under 5s due to malnutrition dropped from 22 to 13 percent between 2000 and 2010. 

8) Meanwhile overweight and obesity are becoming prominent in cities, and gradually appearing in rural areas: 23 percent of boys and 14 percent of girls under 20 were now found to be overweight or obese. 

9) A reduction in poverty in rural areas and a stable growth of income are helping to improve child nutrition in poorer regions.

10) In March 2016, the Chinese government and the World Food Programme (WFP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (written agreement) to pave the way for other developing countries to draw on China’s own experience on reducing poverty and hunger.

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

Sources: UNICEFChina's National Program for Food and Nutrition 2014-2020Nutrition Development Report of Children Aged 0-6, 2012FAOUNThe Lancet.

While malnutrition remains a problem in China, particularly in rural areas, the country has made much progress in recent decades. Here are 10 things to know about the status of nutrition in China. 

06/30/2016 - 10:30
Cash and Vouchers

Foul method and ingredients

1) Drain and rinse the soaked beans.


2) Place the beans, lentils, onion, rice, green pepper in a pot with 3 cups (750 ml) of water and bring to the boil.

3) Reduce to low heat and cover. (Keep the lid on or the beans will turn black). Simmer for 90 minutes or until beans are cooked.


4) Mix through the turmeric, salt, cumin, oil and lemon juice.

5) Top with tomatoes (if using) and serve with salad or pickles.

Welcome to the World Food Programme's (WFP) recipe series, FamilyChef. 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.