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650806
01/23/2017 - 16:16

Applicants are being asked to design innovative solutions that harness “exponential” technologies – those that double in power but halve their costs from one year to the next.

The solutions should be able to be rapidly deployed after the onset of a crisis, and secure a sustainable source of nutritious food as quickly as possible. In this way, they could help vulnerable families support their own households and reduce their dependence on external assistance. Entries can range from concepts to already implemented innovations.

The challenge is open to everybody, everywhere: entrepreneurs, technologists, scientists, students and passionate members of the public. Shortlisted winners will be invited to a boot camp at the WFP Innovation Accelerator in Munich to help flesh out their ideas with WFP staff and innovators. Following the boot camp, one team will be chosen to attend an all-expenses-paid nine-week-long Global Solutions Program, hosted at Singularity University’s campus at NASA Research Park in California. 

The Global Impact Challenge is open until 10 March 2017.

Find out more and apply.

Watch the Facebook live event from the World Economic Forum.

The World Food Programme and Singularity University have launched the Global Impact Challenge, an open call for bold ideas to ensure sustainable access to local and nutritious food in emergencies.

650814
01/23/2017 - 12:00

Syrian mother of five Merve shares one of her favourite dishes as part of our series exploring the tastes of home for refugees and displaced families supported by the World Food Programme.

650778
01/13/2017 - 08:02
Cash and Vouchers, Climate Change, Contributions to WFP

Khadija Maalliim Ali is 25, divorced, jobless and singlehandedly raising six children. She lives with her sister, also a single mother with 4 children.  

With little means to buy nutritious or diversified foods, Khadija relies on support from a mother and child nutrition centre in Yaaqshiid, northeast of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. In addition to pre and post-natal care and advice, she receives a monthly food ration from WFP as well as specialized nutrient-dense food supplements given to young children and a cash-based e-voucher to buy fresh food and vegetables. Together, these have helped Khadija and her small children avert malnutrition.

2016 was the year that Somalia’s food security situation reached a new threshold – 5 million Somalis, or 40% of the population, are now food insecure. Of that figure, 1.1. million people are unable to meet their daily food requirements and are in need of life-saving assistance, while 3.9 million are “stressed” and in need of livelihood support, without which they fall at risk of becoming even more acutely food insecure. The situation for children is also tenuous, with 350,000 children acutely malnourished, of whom 50,000 are severely malnourished. 

ECHO funding is helping WFP reach vulnerable groups such as mothers and young children and internally displaced populations (IDPs). Wherever possible, WFP is using SCOPE, a digital platform that allows WFP to register beneficiaries using biometrics (fingerprint and photo), store information on the amount of food they are entitled to and – in the case of cash or vouchers – transfer the specific amount onto the cards.

Diversity and Choice

Xaliimo Mohamed Nuur is a divorced mother of six, ages 2 to 10 years, living in an IDP (internally displaced persons) camp in Bossaso. Life is difficult – none of her children attend school and she is unable to find work, but she says the security situation in Bossaso is far better than in Mogadishu, where she used to live. In the Bossaso camp, she has access to a health facility.

 “I had nothing before except little support from my ex-husband. This food assistance has had a positive impact on my family – my children aren’t continuously hungry,” said Xaliimo who has been receiving food assistance from WFP for the last three months on her e-transfer card and finds it easy to use.  “I know how to place my finger in the fingerprint scan when they verify my card in the machine.  I like that I buy food of my choice.”

Learning new skills

ECHO funding is also enabling Somalis to acquire new skills to help get them back on their feet. Hinda Osman Hassan is a 32-year old widow and mother of six. Her inconsistent domestic jobs, such as washing clothes, have meant that only her two eldest can go to school, while her four younger children stay home. Hinda recently completed a 9-month training course in Bossaso that consisted of 3-months of numeracy and literacy, followed by 6-months of mobile phone repair training. Throughout the duration of both training modules, she received monthly food entitlements on her SCOPE e-transfer card to feed herself and her family.  

After the graduation ceremony, Hinda will receive a mobile phone repair business startup kit. Her goals are clear.

“With my skills, I will be a big person with my own business, and food will not be a problem for me anymore. I will be able to send my children to school,” she explained. 

Through its humanitarian funding to WFP, ECHO is making an impact each day. From a Somali family who sits down to a meal it could not otherwise afford, a single mother of six provides food for her children while learning skills so she can go from washing clothes to repairing mobile phones, to a mother and her children who get a better chance at a productive life when they receive food supplements to prevent malnutrition.

 

Written by Mireille Ferrari, with contributions by Habiba Bishar (Mogadishu, Somalia), Odette Kishabaga and Abdifatah Barre (Bossaso, Somalia).  Photos by WFP/Kabir Dhanji

A worsening food security situation, due to a prolonged drought and ongoing conflict in Somalia, is threatening to unravel the fragile progress achieved since the famine of 2011. More than ever, WFP is counting on its partnership with ECHO to assist in meeting the needs of the most vulnerable Somalis. 

650766
01/10/2017 - 06:49

Situated at the south-western coastal area of the province of Maguindanao is the Municipality of Upi, a mountainous town composed of 23 barangays home to nearly 50,000 people, a large number of which relies on agriculture as their primary source of income.

Despite prior improvements, transporting their agricultural commodities is still difficult for several barangays due to rough roads and steep transportation costs. “Travel to our barangay is often difficult because of the limited access, especially during the rainy season,” said Anson, a farmer and resident of Ranao Pilayan.

Anson is one of 75 men hired to work on improving local roads as part of a Food For Assets programme in Upi, Maguindanao. WFP/ Jeanne Spillane
Anson is one of 75 men hired to work on improving local roads as part of a Food For Assets programme in Upi, Maguindanao. WFP/ Jeanne Spillane

Working With Local Government

In response, WFP, in partnership with the local government unit of Upi, launched a project entitled “Enhancing Food Security Initiatives of Upi Upland Barangays”. The project focuses on rehabilitating 5 kilometers of farm-to-market roads, benefiting 950 households in 11 barangays, and aims to increase access to basic social services by reducing transportation costs and travel time. Meanwhile, household-level food security is addressed through the inclusion of establishing backyard vegetable gardens.

Anson is one of over three hundred people to register for a new electronic ID card from WFP. He joins a team of 75 men tasked with digging drainage channels on local access roads to ensure they remain passable even when the monsoon rains fall. The new ID card will allow him to claim food assistance from WFP for three months in return for the work. 


Many of the roads in the region are unpaved dirt roads, prone to severe flooding when monsoon rains hit. Local government identified road improvement as one area that would benefit local farmers and families. Drainage channels like this one ensure that the road remains passable whatever the weather.  WFP/ Jeanne Spillane

Registration of project participants in the SCOPE system began in October 2016, and from a distance the scene at barangay Rifao is a familiar sight, one no different from previous sign-ups for WFP projects. SCOPE is an online database system which WFP has developed to improve how it assists people in need. In the past, distributing food or cash assistance to the poorest communities involved registering people using a paper-based system. This often proved time-consuming and inefficient, with duplication a frequent problem. 

Electronic ID Cards

New electronic ID cards are provided to project participants, and while the initial registration does take time for WFP staff on the ground, once complete, monitoring and tracking of food and cash distributions is far more efficient. SCOPE also means registration and distribution services can be more easily delivered directly to the people who need them, meaning they no longer have to travel to a centralized distribution point.

“This registration was much faster than I expected. I also appreciate that it was conducted in a nearby barangay. We didn’t have to travel far from our homes or spend money to be able to register and participate because the registration took place near us,” explained Anson. 

Anson is one of 75 men hired to work on improving local roads as part of a Food For Assets programme in Upi, Maguindanao. WFP/ Jeanne Spillane

Improving Monitoring & Evaluation

In addition to WFP’s monitoring, Ronald, the leader of the Project Management Committee, said that SCOPE also assists them in their monitoring and evaluation. “SCOPE will help us in checking attendance, ensure participation, and in the verification or validation process during distributions. With the new IDs, it’s quicker to identify the participants and ensure that the money they’ve earned goes to the right person.

Since re-establishing its presence in the Philippines in 2006, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has been working in conflict-affected areas in Central Mindanao in close partnership with local government units and communities to rebuild their assets following years of conflict and displacement. Now, WFP is improving its project registration, implementation, and monitoring system to streamline and balance project implementation and benefit project participants.

650710
12/16/2016 - 12:21
Climate Change, Contributions to WFP, Purchase for Progress, Responding to Emergencies

In April 2016, it was time for most Malawians to harvest their crops. Abel Mwase, a lead farmer in Lilongwe district, fared better than most Malawian farmers by producing over 300 bags of maize, some of which he has been able to sell for a profit.

This came after an extremely difficult growing season characterized by El Niño-induced drought, which left most farmers countrywide with failed harvests and little to no food for the year. These challenging circumstances resulted in around 40 percent of Malawians facing food insecurity this year with the most difficult months still ahead.

Abel, who is supported by the World Food Programme’s Purchase For Progress (P4P) initiative, is a founding member of the Chigonthi Farmer Organisation, which currently consists of 99 members. Through P4P, Chigonthi farmers have benefitted from WFP trainings on post-harvest management, market and cooperative management, as well as from partner-led trainings on conservation agriculture.

“This year I applied compost manure which I think conserved moisture in the soil. This helped me to grow more than most during the past growing season, which was very difficult due to lack of rains,” said Abel.

Prior to his involvement with the cooperative, Abel lacked access to proper storage facilities. Now using methods learned through P4P trainings, he is able to store surplus commodities safely in a warehouse originally supported by FAO and handed over for management by P4P-supported farmers in 2013.  

Since the group’s establishment, the food security situation of the members has seen great improvement with many of the farmers experiencing surplus harvests.

P4P also increases market opportunities for supported farmers, in part through WFP’s direct purchase from supported farmers. At the onset of its current relief response, WFP looked to Farmer Organizations like Chigonthi to source some of the response’s maize requirements in June and July. This helped ensure availability of commodities for distribution at the exceptionally early start of the response in July.

Of the 300 plus bags he harvested this past year, Abel put aside 100 bags of maize for storage in the farmer organization’s warehouse. Using a contribution from USAID specifically for local maize purchase, WFP purchased 30 mt of maize directly from the Chigonthi Farmer Organization in July, which it then delivered to food insecure households as part of its current relief response.

“I was able to supply 90 bags to WFP under this sale,” explained Abel. “I have used the money I made to purchase farming inputs including chicken manure to apply on the crops I have planted for this season.”  

WFP and USAID require high quality standards of commodities, which farmers in the Chigonthi Farmer Organisation were able to meet this year in part due to skills learned through P4P. Competitive prices are offered in exchange for quality commodities, which further incentives investment and increased production among Malawian farmers. Abel has also sold over 200 bags of maize to the Government of Malawi’s National Food Reserve Agency, further increasing his post-harvest profit.  Continuing to build on the skills and support provided by WFP, Abel and other WFP-supported farmers hope to increase production and sell to WFP and other competitive buyers in future years. 

Using a contribution from USAID specifically for local maize purchase, WFP purchased 30 metric tons of maize directly from the Chigonthi Farmers Organization in mid-2016 which it then delivered to food-insecure households as part of its current relief response. 

650707
12/15/2016 - 11:08

The humanitarian situation in Aleppo is catastrophic. The World Food Programme urges all parties to this vicious conflict to respect international law and common humanitarian princples and provide unconditional, unimpeded and safe access to those in need. 

Read more about what WFP is doing and how you can help. 

 

 

650691
12/08/2016 - 13:11
Responding to Emergencies

Diplomats and donors went to Aru in Ituri province in November to assess refugee needs, the status of the Biringi site and the early response of the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) and of the World Food Program (WFP). They met the local authorities, humanitarian organizations and, most importantly, the refugees themselves. Following the field visit, we asked each member of the delegation for their impressions.

1.    What are your impressions of the situation of South Sudanese refugees you've met?

I was impressed! Thanks to the work of humanitarian actors, the refugees weren’t in as bad a condition as I had anticipated. However, you could still see in their faces the stress they had gone through during their flight. I think it's a great approach, to leave a lot of space between the shelters in the new site in Biringi and to provide farmland for the refugees there.  

Karl Philipp Ehlerding, First Secretary at the German Embassy in DRC

2.    What are your impressions concerning the welcoming of the refugees from the host population and from the Congolese authorities?

The Congolese authorities and the population have proved to be very open, involved and enthusiastic. I wish we had the same open hearts in Europe with the Syrian refugees. At the border with South Sudan, there is still work to do in order to sensitize the refugees and explain the need to relocate them away from the border for their own safety.  

Annelies de Backer, Head of Belgian Cooperation in DRC

3.    Food assistance at the new site in Biringi will consist of money transfers directly to the refugees: what do you think about that?

It's a win - win solution for both refugees and host population: the beneficiaries have the opportunity to choose the food they want to eat, which increases their dignity. It also allows to support the local economy and facilitate their integration into the host community. Cash transfers are also interesting from a gender point of view because it is often the women who are in charge of spending and they are the ones getting the money.

Björn Holmgren, Second Secretary at the Embassy of Sweden in DRC

4.    How can we achieve self-sufficiency among the refugees?

The most important thing is that refugees are able to develop their own livelihoods and that they have access to the same opportunities they had in their own country. Although the operations is at an early stage, what we saw during this visit is encouraging, especially because host communities seem to be very welcoming. The ideal would be to reach the same situation as in Uganda where South Sudanese refugees have a good degree of freedom of movement and work, which is positive for their food security and promotes self-sufficiency.

Jean Woynicki, Regional coordinator for refugees from the Embassy of the United States in Uganda

5.    During the interviews with young refugees at Biringi, what struck you the most?

Firstly, it's their journey, the trials they overcame and their extreme vulnerability, especially the young girls'. Then, during the discussions, we heard their optimism, their desire to move forward and get involved in community life by helping the most vulnerable, elderly or unaccompanied children. In response to their very legitimate concerns regarding access to education, health or sports and cultural activities, their energy should be channeled and used wisely. It is essential to preserve social peace between refugees as well as with the host populations: it is a crucial element in the UNHCR’s 'alternative to the camps' strategy.

Sébastien Dauré, Attaché for regional Cooperation / humanitarian correspondent at the Embassy of France in DRC

6.    UNHCR and WFP are implementing a joint operation in support of the South Sudanese refugees: how do you view this?

This is vital because protection and food security are the most important issues in this emergency situation. But this collaboration must go beyond the humanitarian emergency and be part of a broader approach in order to quickly reach a greater empowerment of refugees within the populations that have generously hosted them. It is also necessary to expand the operation and include a larger number of actors as part of a holistic approach.

Thomas Deherman-Roy, Head of the ECHO regional Office, Kinshasa - Great Lakes region

7.    What should the role of the international community be in this South Sudanese refugee crisis?

A humanitarian gap is emerging in terms of healthcare, education and protection. The large scale of the emergency situation requires a common response. UNHCR and WFP will need to encourage and coordinate the activity of other actors, and donors are responsible to support them in this venture. Beside the local approach, a regional solution for South Sudan and for the refugees must be found and we would encourage UNHCR and WFP to harness the strength of their regional offices and make sure information is regularly shared. This is an opportunity for us to look into new ideas to address this long lasting violence cycle in South Sudan and how the response in DRC to the influx of refugees can be appropriate to the context. 

Campbell McDade, Coordinator for Eastern DRC for DFID

 

More than 60,000 South Sudanese refugees are hosted in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They have fled fighting in the Equatoria region of their home country. Most of them are women and children. While more are arriving daily, they are being settled away from the border at Biringi (Ituri province) and other sites in the province of Haut-Uele. 

650686
12/08/2016 - 07:21

I began my career as a Food Research Officer at the DFTQC in 1999 in Dhangadi, Kailali district of Far Western Nepal. I was stationed there for over a decade, during which my duties included checking the quality of food that was produced in Nepal and also from India. I was also engaged in laboratory sample analysis, industry and market monitoring, food processing training, etc. In 2014, I was promoted to Senior Food Research Officer in Hetauda, an important hub for trade and commerce in central Nepal. 

The Regional Food Technology and Quality Control Office in Hetauda implements various rules and regulations concerning the Food Act, including  processing concerns over food quality control, expanding food technologies, conducting food processing trainings, nutrition trainings, enhancing consumer knowledge and awareness as well as  food hygiene related trainings. In Hetauda, we oversee such activities across seven districts in the central southern plains of Nepal that borders India. 

I was given the opportunity to participate in a 24 day training program in Israel through the support of MASHAV and WFP.   There were a total of 27 participants from Panama, Costa Rica, Barbados, Serbia, Georgia, Armenia, India, Nepal, Vietnam, Nigeria, Gambia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Burundi, and Ghana.

The training covered various topics on risk factors and management; value addition, shelf life and technology, Quality Assurance and Quality Control, Environmental Management, usage of pesticide and fertilizer, amongst others. The trainings were a series of lectures and discussions, group work and discussion, and field visits that were followed by a final presentation. The aim of the training was to provide participants with management skills for confronting hazards and threats in regard to food. 

The training taught me important technical skills specifically on food safety, using new technology and equipment.  Since my return, I have shared the knowledge I gained from this training with my colleagues. This training not only benefited me but my colleagues, enhancing DTQC’s knowledge, work, and working capacity. Through this training, I will apply all of my new knowledge in the day to day management of food safety and quality control. 

I believe that if such trainings are given to consumer-rights organizations, journalists, industrialists, and food entrepreneurs, they would be able to better advocate to consumers about safer food products.  If skills involving the latest and modern technology are replaced with traditional ones, Nepal will be better equipped to determine quality of food.

Developing countries like Nepal are poorly equipped to respond to existing and emerging food safety problems due to lack technical and financial resources as well sufficient information about the hazards and risks involved and trained manpower. However, through trainings like this one, Nepal can improve and provide safer food to all.

 

WFP Nepal will to continue to support DFTQC and other actors to contribute to their capacity and knowledge in the area of food safety and quality. This training was one of several that WFP Nepal has conducted in areas ranging from Emergency Practical and Operational Logistics, Emergency Food Management, ICT Emergency Management, Food Quality and Safety and Assembling and Dismantling a Humanitarian Logistics Platform. These trainings have targeted 151 participants from Government, Security Forces, INGOs, Red Cross and UN Agencies. WFP Nepal will continue to provide such trainings in 2017. 

Raj Kumar Rijal works as the Senior Food Research Officer at the Government of Nepal’s Regional Food Technology and Quality Control Office (DTQC) in Hetauda.
In September 2016, Mr. Rijal had the opportunity to travel to Israel to learn more about “Feeding the Future: Food Safety and Technology in Times of Global Change" at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  
The training he received was part of a programme by Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV) and WFP Nepal to strengthen government capacity. 
Here Rijal talks to WFP about his experience. 

650673
12/05/2016 - 11:51

WFP continues to follow frontlines in Mosul by delivering life-saving food assistance to families in camps and newly retaken areas. Since the onset of the Mosul offensive in October, WFP and its partners have provided ready-to-eat food to more than 196,000 people affected by the conflict.

Read the story here.

A glimpse into life under so-called Islamic State, in the words of those who escaped.

650653
11/28/2016 - 11:10

Even before we begin talking, Elena Yezani beckons me to join her in her grass-thatched kitchen where, at 2:30 pm, she is preparing the family’s sole meal of the day.

As we start talking about the impact of the El Niño-induced drought in Chidokowe village in the central region district of Ntcheu district, Elena has tears in her eyes.

“Two bags, two bags of maize is all we were able to harvest when usually we get 30 to 40 bags,” says the mother of five.

Prior to receiving food assistance, the family has had to sell most of its livestock. All that remains is a baby pig which looks frail due to lack of food.

Elena’s children are hoping that if the piglet grows, then the family can sell it and use the money for other household needs. But they can’t even feed the piglet.

“What would you feed a pig when humans are eating maize husks usually fed to the animals…?” Elena asks. "Before receiving food assistance from WFP in September, I had to borrow food from a neighbouring village so we could at least feed the kids."

The family’s troubles started with a devastating agricultural season in 2014-15, and then an El Niño-induced drought during the 2015-16 growing season. According to the Malawi Vulnerability assessment Committee, some 6.7 million people will need food assistance during the peak of the lean season.

Elena complains that her youngest child, 18-month-old Fiona, is still breastfeeding although there is little milk due to the mother’s poor diet.

"If there was no food support, people would start dying,” she says.

Families receive a monthly household food ration of maize, pulses and vegetable oil or its cash equivalent.  Families with pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under the age of two, also receive a fortified blended flour (Likuni Phala) to prevent malnutrition.

“It takes us the whole morning to gather firewood for several meals,” she says. “The land is bare, people have cut down the trees to make charcoal which they sell by the roadside so they can buy food.”

To help struggling families recover, WFP and its partners are working with communities to create and rehabilitate productive assets. Elena is making fuel-efficient stoves for her own use and also to sell.

Thanks to the Government of Malawi and support from the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, the European Union, the Netherlands, Australia, Norway and others, millions of food-insecure people like Elena can get through this season and remain hopeful for what is to come.

 

 

Thanks to the Government of Malawi and support from the governments around the world, millions of hungry and food-insecure people in Malawi can get through the lean season and nurture some optimism about the future.