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646021
04/20/2015 - 11:35

1) Undernutrition costs Bangladesh more than USD 1 billion in lost productivity every year, and even more in health care costs.

2) 41 percent of children (approx. 7 milllion) under the age of five are chronically undernourished; they are too short for their age, a condition known as stunting.

3) Even in the wealthiest households, 26 percent of children under the age of five are stunted, and 12 percent are wasted (have low weight-for-height). Clearly undernutrition is not restricted to the poorest families. 

4) A third of children aged 6-59 months are anaemic.

5) 16 percent of children under five in Bangladesh are wasted (low weight-for-height).

6) Only 25 percent of children's diets have adequate dietary diversity where a minimum of four food groups out of seven are consumed on a daily basis.

7) 40 percent of school aged children are iron deficient.

8) Among women, 24 percent are underweight and 13 percent are short in stature, which increases the likelihood that their children will be stunted.

9) Despite growth in wages over the past five years, food price spikes place balanced diets beyond the reach of millions, particularly the urban poor and rural landless.

10) Sacrifices in food consumption in favour of children, particularly in times of scarcity, is highly gender biased. In most cases, it is an adult woman who must make a sacrifice.

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Sources:

1) REACH: Under nutrition in Bangladesh A common narrative FAO (2012), the State of Food Insecurity in the World, Rome.
2) UNICEF 2013: Improving child undernutrition.
3) Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS) 2011
4) Nutrition Situation Analysis, Bangladesh.
5) UNICEF 2013: Improving child undernutrition. 
6) International Conference on Nutrition, Country Nutrition Paper, ICN2.
7) Nutrition Situation Analysis, Bangladesh.
8) Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey BDHS (2011). 
9) Helen Keller International and James P. Grant School of Public Health (JPGSPH). 2014, State of Food security and nutrition in Bangladesh: 2013.
10)“Impact of climate related shocks and stresses on food security and nutrition in rural Bangladesh.” Helen Keller International, the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies, and the Institute of Development Studies, in partnership with the World Food Programme, and funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

...Coming next week: 10 Facts About Hunger In Madagascar

 

Hunger is a huge issue in Bangladesh. Please help WFP raise awareness by sharing the following ten hunger facts:

645997
04/16/2015 - 18:57

Zainab Mansaray, WFP’s Senior Programme Assistant was still asleep when her 13-year-old son, Madieu Jalloh knocked on her door shouting: ‘’Mamy, mamy, are you up? I have to go to school today. And we need to hurry up!’’

Zainab got up immediately. She made sure the children had their breakfast, and set out with her son and nephew to school.  They were faced with heavy traffic. Everybody was in a hurry. None of the parents wanted their children to be late for this much awaited event: the reopening of schools after the deadly Ebola virus forced schools to be shut down for eight months. 

 

Zainab and her son are ready for school as schools resume on 14 April in Sierra Leone (WFP/Djaounsede Pardon).

For the past eight months, only a few families could afford to send their children out of the country to study. The vast majority of children had to rely on a radio education programme set up by the government and its partners. Whilst beneficial under the circumstances, this alternative teaching method had its limitations, not to mention requiring parents to provide the coaching and supervision. While some parents like Zainab were at work, making it difficult for them to monitor closely their children’s progress, others, especially in rural areas, simply do not have access to radios, with their children missing out on the programme.  

"Now that schools have resumed, we are so happy and we pray that it continues this way so that our children can get a good education, and become useful to the community," said Zainab.

Children are eager to get back to their lessons at Saint Anthony Primary School in Freetown (WFP/Djaounsede Pardon).

Many parents also hope that the school reopenings will help the country get to zero Ebola cases. With awareness raising activities reinforced in school, as well as prevention measures, such as hand washing and temperature checks, put in place, children can be good agents of change, and can help identify hidden Ebola cases. 

Handwashing and other prevention measures are carefully applied in the newly reopened schools (WFP/Djaounsede Pardon). 

NOTE: WFP, through its Food for Work Programme (FFW), helped ensure that schools used as centres for Ebola patients were cleaned and decontaminated, and ready and safe for the opening. In partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, WFP ensured that 8,000 schools were cleaned up across the country. Participants in the FFW programme – 20 people for each school – will receive food rations in exchange for their work. WFP is due to resume its school feeding programme in areas most affected by Ebola, where vulnerable families cannot afford a daily meal for their children, this month.

Could you imagine being a parent and seeing your children staying home for months, not being able to go to school? The Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone has not only claimed over 3,800 lives, but for the past eight months, it has forced school children to stay at home, hampering education and the country’s capacity to build its future manpower.

Zainab Mansaray, WFP staff member and mother tells us what it means for her and her family that her children have been able to go back to school as of 14 April. 

645995
04/16/2015 - 17:44

Tahoua – Hoe in hand, Binta Issah, a 40-year-old mother of eight, works the soil with a group of women. The smile on her face contrasts with the harshness of the land.  The soil in the Alakaye area is rocky, but the World Food Programme is organizing a rehabilitation program to make it usable for farmers in the area.

“The soil here has never been worked – it is degraded and stony. But people want to recover it and use it,” explained Zayaba Ango, with WFP in Tahoua.

Binta has helped build half-moons, stone bunds, and walls to retain water in the fields and create a better environment for producing food staples.  She is one of the people that WFP has reached through its cash distribution projects for producing assets, like the half-moons, during the pre-winter season when the granaries are empty.

“I am relieved.  Previously, I had to search for wood to sell or pound millet for others in hopes of feeding my family.  But with the money that I receive now, I am at ease – I can provide at least two meals per day for my children,” said Binta.

Bineta has never owned her own land.  Each year, she cultivates land for others, but must in return give them part of the harvest. Now, she has found a better solution.  Part of the rehabilitated land will be given to her for free to cultivate for five years.

“We have discussed and signed agreements with local authorities and landowners for the land benefits,” explained Benoit Thiry, WFP representative in Niger. "The innovation of the project is that the rehabilitated land will be redistributed to poor households for five years.  They should benefit from their work."

The partnership between WFP and FAO will allow the households also to benefit from the aid of FAO, who provides the seeds, fertilizer, and technical support necessary for agricultural output.

For Binta, now water is the only concern. She is thankful that the rains have been abundant.  With the financial aid from USAID, projects like mini-dams will be constructed so that water can penetrate the soil, allowing the people to cultivate vegetables as well.  This will help to diversify their diets and provide an additional source of income.

This project is taking places in communities where together a set of integrated programmes – school meals, nutritional care, and food security projects – have been put in place to strengthen people’s resilience. 

More than 18,000 impoverished, landless households, will have access to farmable land during the next winter season, thanks to a land redistribution project proposed by the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization, with the support of USAID. 

645993
04/16/2015 - 14:17
School Meals

Thi Qar, SOUTHERN IRAQ –  Referred to by many as the original Garden of Eden, the marshes of southern Iraq experience one of the highest poverty rates in the country due to the draining of the marshlands in the 1980s, impacting the economy in the area.

Reducing drop out rates

Mohamed Jalil is one of many children living in poverty in the marshland district of Chibayish. The road to his school cuts through the marshes and is lined with straw houses that are often soaked inside and out from the rain. On weekends, he helps his father sell fish in the market place for a living. 

Mohamed Jalil, close-up
Mohamed Jalil is one of  the 21,000 children receiving WFP school meals in the Iraqi governatorat of Thi Qar. (Photo:WFP/Mohammed Al Bahbahani)

The 11-year-old dreams of one day becoming a pharmacist so he can “help people get better.” He and the rest of his classmates are a step closer to realizing their dreams. The fifth grader now goes to school every day and is able to learn about his favourite subject; Science.

“Now I come to class every day; I attend lessons, play with my classmates and eat a delicious meal every morning,” says Mohamed. He says the daily meals gives him more energy to learn and play football; his favourite sport. 

[quote|“This meal is important because it helps me stay focused on what my teacher is saying in class. It is good for my body too”]

The meals WFP provides are keeping more children in school and reducing dropout rate as parents ensure their children’s attendance, knowing that they will get a meal. They help break the cycle of malnutrition among the children of Chibayish.

WFP, in cooperation with Iraq’s Ministry of Education, began in February providing daily meals to 21,000 children across 73 schools in Thi Qar. The meals include a slice of bread, cheese, fruit, milk or juice providing children with much-needed nutrients to help both their brains and bodies. 

“This meal is important because it helps me stay focused on what my teacher is saying in class. It is good for my body too,” says Mohamed.

Breaking the cycle

Many of Mohamed’s classmates were found to be too short and underweight for their age - a tell-tale sign of malnutrition. Since WFP school meals were introduced, teachers have reported greater signs of energy and happiness in the children

By going to school, and getting the proper nutrition, Mohamed is taking a step out of poverty, with the opportunity to continue his education and improve the lives of those around him when he grows up.

“I want to help my family and others;” he says.

WFP aims to reach more children like Mohamed in the coming years and is extending school meals across the country. 
Help us feed more children like Mohamed, donate a WFP school meal today.

WFP is providing school meals in Thi Qar, one of Iraq's most disadvantaged governorates, until the end of May 2015. Improving health and education is a priority for the governorate and daily school meals give parents an incentive to send their children to school and keep them there. Mohamed Jalil is one of 21,000 children benefiting from this.

645940
04/15/2015 - 10:24

1) Chad ranks 73rd out of 78 countries on the Global Hunger Index* and 184th out of 187 countries on the 2014 UNDP Human Development Index*. 

2) 87 percent of Chad's rural population lives below the poverty line.

3) In 2015, more than 2.4 million rural Chadians have become food insecure, of which 428,000 people are classified as severely food insecure. 

4) Farmers will face an unusually longer and leaner season this year in the Lac, Barh El Gazal and Kanem regions (February to September instead of the usual June to September period).

5) Highly unpredictable rains, periodic droughts, locust infestations and unsustainable farming practices negatively affect cereal production across the country. 

6) To combat malnutrition, WFP is using a two-part approach that focuses on prevention during the first 1000 days window of opportunity by providing treatment to 200,000 children under five and to 20,000 pregnant and nursing women, who are suffering from moderate acute malnutrition.  

7) 360,000 Sudanese refugees, 100,000 Central African Republic returnees and refugees, and 20,000 Nigerian refugees have fled their homes to Chad.

8) The combination of a lack of infrastructure, limited human resources, and food insecurity has hampered access to basic education in a country where only one third of adults are literate and two thirds of school age children are enrolled.

9) With a budget of 28 million dollars USD, 580,000 people will receive food assistance through food vouchers in 2015.

10) With four aircraft and 17 destinations, UNHAS’ operations in Chad are essential: from January – December 2014, it transported 45,600 humanitarian workers, and carried out numerous medical evacuations.  

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* Measures the global fight against hunger

** The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Index provdes an overview of overall human development.

Hunger is a huge issue in Chad. Please help WFP raise awareness by sharing the following ten hunger facts:

645952
04/14/2015 - 13:31

Center Helps Rebuild Young Lives

Janet (right) and Princess (left) are twin sisters. They are only ten years old, but they have big dreams. Janet wants to be a lawyer, and Princess hopes to become a nurse to take care of children and underprivileged people in her community. That way, says Princess, she can follow in her father’s footsteps. Before he contracted Ebola, he was a lab technician at Kenema hospital. He and his wife both passed away from Ebola, leaving behind six children. Now, they receive support at Kambui Child Advocacy Group for Women and Children’s Center.

Osman, 9, likes to play football. He said that his dream when he grows up is to become a teacher and help children in his community. His father was a security guard working at the Kenema hospital when he contracted Ebola. At the Kambui Center, Osman said, he is happy because he can play freely with other children without people in the community pointing fingers at him as an Ebola survivor.

Domane Tamba (13, right) and Mariama Sidibe (8, left) help each other in a drawing exercise. They came from two different areas of the country, but their stories are similar. Domane lost both parents to Ebola in Panguma (Lower Bambara chiefdom) and had been living with her grandmother before she was taken to the Kambui orphanage. Mariama’s parents died from Ebola in Gorama-Mende chiefdom and she had been living with her aunt. Since January 2015, both children have been receiving social counseling support along with 48 other Ebola-orphaned children. 

Food and Social Support Restore Hope

The centre is also home to vulnerable women and girls who have been affected by Ebola, like Betty Jaward,14. An Ebola survivor, the young girl contracted the disease from her mother, who was a nurse. Following the death of her parents, Betty and her two sisters moved to their grandmother’s house. To make ends meet, she used to sell fresh vegetables. But she soon had to halt her business because people in her neighborhood were reluctant to buy her food: many people feared they would contract Ebola by coming in close contact with her. Betty is happy to be at the Kambui Center, where she receives WFP food and social support. Now she wants to go back to school so that she can fulfill her dream of being a doctor for her community.

WFP assistance at Kambui Advocacy Center aims to meet the basic food and nutrition needs of vulnerable children whose parents or caretakers died of Ebola. The food basket includes cereals, beans, vegetable oil and Supercereal, a blended nutritious food, to provide the children with three meals a day.

Volunteers like Seyia (in red) play a vital role at the Kambui Advocacy Center. With support from WFP and the Ministry of Social Welfare, they organize cooking, cleaning and counseling services for the Ebola-orphaned children. 

In Sierra Leone, progress is being made in the fight against Ebola. Day after day, new cases are declining:  as of 14 April, seven out of 14 districts had gone for 42 consecutive days without recording new Ebola cases. Though the outlook is hopeful, survivors of the disease - particularly children who are now orphans - face challenges reintegrating into normal life. In Kenema district, WFP provides food to the Kambui Advocacy Group for Women and Children (KAGWC) to support 50 Ebola-orphaned children while they are undergoing social counselling. 

645906
04/10/2015 - 16:25

Rwanda ranks 151 (out of 187 countries) on the Human Development Index.

WFP has been working in Rwanda since 1972, when the agency provided food assistance to those affected by the country’s 1970s crop failures.

Although the rate of malnutrition is decreasing, much more remains to be done. Over 40 per cent of Rwandan children under five are chronically malnourished. WFP focuses its development activities in poorest areas to improve food security and the nutritional status of these children and their families.

The 1994 genocide greatly disrupted farming and food production in Rwanda. Many were forced to flee the country and found themselves in surrounding areas without the means to feed themselves.

Floods and droughts have also contributed to food insecurity in Rwanda - In 1979, floods made it impossible to cultivate crops and then in 1980, drought was the driving force behind hunger. WFP provided food to affected people throughout both periods.

Rwanda is currently home to over 72,000 refugees, mainly from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, hosted in five camps. They rely entirely on WFP food to meet their nutritional needs as they have limited livelihood opportunities.

Rwanda signed a cessation clause in 2011 to end the refugee status of tens of thousands Rwandans still living as refugees and asylum seekers in neighbouring countries. Around 400 people return monthly to Rwanda and receive three-month’s worth of food rations from WFP.

Life expectancy in Rwanda is 64.1 years and households headed by women or orphans account for 36 per cent of the population.

Agricultural transformation has been identified as the main pillar for achieving economic development and food security in Rwanda. The country plans to increase income per capita from $644 to $1,240 by 2020.

Rwanda was the first country to sign the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) compact and to secure funding, ensuring that malnutrition and food security are one of the Government's key priorities.

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This week marks 21 years since the start of the 100 day genocide in Rwanda that resulted in a reported 800,000 deaths. WFP remembers the victims of this horrifying historical event and takes a look at how Rwanda’s history has shaped the country it is today.

645904
04/10/2015 - 15:04

Worsening conflict in parts of Yemen threatens the country's already fragile food security. WFP is continually concerned about the growing number of displaced civilians in the poorest country in the Arab world.

[story|645223|644939]Food and fuel shortages threaten to push more households into hunger in a country where more than 10 million people - some 41 percent of the population - were already suffering from food insecurity.

Despite operational and security difficulties, WFP and its partners have distributed food assistance last week to nearly 30,000 in Mazraq camps for internally displaced people and Kharaz camp for refugees.

Before the violence escalated in March, WFP operations included providing food to hundreds of thousands of displaced people and refugees, safety net and livelihood support for the poor and rural families. The most vulnerable civilians affected by the limited food availablility are children and mothers, who are being treated for malnutrition.

WFP continues to adapt to the situation as it develops so that it can reach those most in need.

 

 

WFP continues to operate its food distribution where possible so it can reach those most in need with assistance.

 

645891
04/09/2015 - 17:19
Responding to Emergencies

KOTDALOK - I had never heard of Kotdalok before the head of WFP’s emergency response unit notified me that I had to lead a rapid response mission to that location in Jonglei State. But I am happy that we travelled there, as it showed us the difference we can make as people when we work as one.

Most of the people currently staying in Kotdalok, a village in Ayod County, are internally displaced people (IDPs) who fled fighting that took place in the county in May 2014. 

The Kotdalok IDPs are a mixed population of Dinka and Nuer ethnicities with a lot of intermarriages. When one reads about the current conflict in South Sudan, it is possible to think that these two communities just cannot live together. That isn’t the case here. Both groups have suffered from the impact of the conflict:  They could not grow crops, they have lost most of their livelihoods and there is a serious absence of basic social services such as health facilities. 

When our rapid response team landed in early March, we met with the local authorities to introduce ourselves and explain our mission. One of their first requests was that we allow our registration to last for at least three days to enable Dinka communities, which were in the villages outside Kotdalok, to come for the exercise. 

Many of the people within village were ethnic Nuer, so some of our team members asked the authorities if they had any concerns about tension or even fighting among the communities. They assured us that there was no need to fear. And indeed there was nothing to worry about. The registration exercise went on smoothly, and we registered all people from all ethnicities as guided by the humanitarian principles of impartiality, humanity and neutrality. 

Like most of the villages in this area, Kotdalok is inaccessible by road. The villages are surrounded by swamps – which make it hard for attacking forces to reach those who seek refuge there. That’s one of the reason people seek shelter from fighting there.

For WFP, this means we can only bring the much needed food commodities by air (airlifts and airdrops). The local authorities mobilised both Dinka and Nuer community members to clear the portion of land that would serve as a drop zone. 

When the airdrops started, a mixed group from the two communities worked as porters, collecting bags of cereals and pulses and stacking them. They worked side-by-side, carrying the heavy bags together for two solid days until we completed our airdrops. 

The distribution that followed was also a lesson in unity and purpose. We safely and peacefully assisted around 8,000 people here, and there was no fighting between groups. 

It was the first time that many of these people were receiving any kind of food assistance. Some of them told us that they had lost hope of eating cereals again until peace returned. The food they received would be a tremendous help for now.  Their hope is that peace can come so they can again cultivate their own food. 

Our team was impressed by the people’s dignity despite their difficult conditions. The spirit of sacrifice for one another was admirable.  What we witnessed gave me hope for my country. To see my people working hand in hand and at peace with one another is what we need for South Sudan to develop – not conflict. 

By Gideon Thompson, WFP South Sudan

The civil conflict that has engulfed South Sudan over the past 15 months has had ethnic dimensions, and has particularly ignited tensions between the Dinka and Nuer communities. But the crisis in South Sudan – like the country itself – is far more complex than many people may assume.  While providing assistance in some places, WFP’s rapid response teams have seen people from all communities working together. Gideon Thompson, a South Sudanese programme officer for WFP, shares his experience of how food distribution brought communities together in Kotdalok, a small village in Jonglei State.

645877
04/09/2015 - 09:42

The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), led by the World Food Programme (WFP), was requested by the Government of Vanuatu to support the communications response to Cyclone Pam. In close cooperation and coordination with the government, the ETC and its network of partners provided shared internet connectivity services at nine sites across Vanuatu. Now, just three weeks after Cyclone Pam, sites are already being decommissioned as the country quickly recovers.

Supporting Government Needs

Prior to the cyclone, commercial companies provided phone and internet services to the population, and the Government of Vanuatu had a dedicated network between the capital and the six provincial capitals. Cyclone Pam decimated all communications networks.

“The government, very capable and competent, was gratefully overwhelmed by the offers for support,” says Oscar Caleman, WFP FITTEST Specialist, deployed as ETC Coordinator in Vanuatu. “They had never faced such a massive emergency response by the international community before, where there has been so many actors wanting to provide aid. The ETC has the experience in responding to large-scale emergencies, so our focus is to help the Chief Information Officer (CIO) pin down needs, we take that back to the ETC network of partners, identify and match organisations that can support them and then present the solutions back to the government.” 

“The ETC has been an amazing resource to us in this post crisis period,” says Fred Samuel, CIO of the Prime Minister’s Office, Government of the Republic of Vanuatu. “A great deal of technology companies have responded and sent specialists and equipment immediately. 

“We have been delighted with the speed to assist, the professionalism of the team and their initiatives. We could not have recovered emergency communication solutions as quickly without the support of the ETC,” says Fred.

The ETC and Government of Vanuatu worked closely together in the technology response to Cyclone Pam. (WFP/ Oscar Caleman)

Two-Step Approach to Connectivity

With such massive destruction to the communications infrastructure, the first step was to provide an immediate connectivity solution. Small portable satellite terminals, ‘BGANs’, and satellite phones were distributed to key government personnel allowing them to communicate urgent needs.

ETC member, Telecoms Sans Frontieres (TSF), arrived on the ground within 24 hours of the cyclone along with the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team. “We arrived here to support the UNDAC team with satphones and BGANs,” says Sebastian, Head of Mission for TSF in Vanuatu. “We provided internet in the National Disaster Management Office and a hotel in Port Vila, and then in more remote locations where the government said it was needed.”

Now in week four of the response, satellite phones have been given to the government by the ETC and TSF, and portable satellite terminals have been replaced with more robust equipment in key operational areas. Both experts advisors and equipment from WFP and TSF, as well as, ETC members emergency.lu, Ericsson Response, Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), NetHope and their partner BT are working round-the-clock to support the response. Through its network of partners, the ETC will provide internet connectivity services until commercial and government networks are back online and operating at full service.

The Challenges

Of the total population of 250,000 people, 160,000 were affected across the 65 inhabited islands. Communities are spread into tiny population pockets that consist of as few as three families. The only way to access these areas is by helicopter. 

“You had to be on the islands to get an idea of what was going on,” says Oscar. “There are extremely remote areas. In the first days we were flying around islands, handing out satphones and training medical personnel or the elder in the village on how to use it and whom to call.”

As well as destroying communications infrastructure, Cyclone Pam also severely damaged power grids across the country. Up until now, the operation is dependent on solar power and generators to charge communications equipment.

Training on the use of flexible solar panels to charge satellite phones. (WFP/ Oscar Caleman)

Preparing for the next emergency

“WFP's mandate for the last decade has been to provide communications services to the humanitarian community,” says Oscar. “For the next ten years though, this will change and working with governments to build resilience to emergencies is one of the areas we will be focusing on.”

“The encouraging thing about this operation is that in about two months they won’t need us anymore. The local service providers are recovering extremely quickly, and the government is getting back on its feet,” says Oscar. “If we do stay, it will be to work with the government to build capacity and prepare for the next emergency. But generally, they’ve got it from here.”

Within hours of Cyclone Pam tearing through Vanuatu, the critical need for communications was blaringly obvious. Why? With the exception of the capital, Port Vila on Efate Island, the other 64 inhabited islands that comprise the country were largely incommunicado. Without communications, there was no way of knowing the impact this Category 5 storm had made on the small island nation.