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644037
11/21/2014 - 16:37

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

644105
11/20/2014 - 17:37

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Liberia, WFP is providing assistance to Ebola survivors and their families.  This includes the Stewart family, which lost seven of its members in just nine weeks.

644100
11/20/2014 - 13:30

Trying to get back to a normal life

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

"Vive la rentree!" 

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

The school meals programme is back in action

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

The only meal of the day

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

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

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

A national event

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

Food will be shared with the family

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

A country still in need

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

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

644017
11/19/2014 - 17:21
Nutrition, School Meals

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

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

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

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

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

[photo-collection:644081]

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

644047
11/19/2014 - 07:01

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

643999
11/17/2014 - 09:49

Um Zuhour is a mother of four girls and used to lead a happy life in Aleppo. She was raised and got married there, and her four daughters were born in the city’s Youth Housing Project neighborhood. Her husband used to own a textile shop in the old bazar. She says their life could not have been any better.

A journey through Syria to find a home

All of that changed dramatically when conflict came to Aleppo. The once strong city started to crumble and Um Zuhour lost her husband amid the insecurity. She also lost the livelihood that the textile shop had provided. “I had no idea of where to go,” she said. “I was afraid to lose another loved one. I just wanted to be as far away as possible from this outrageous war.”[quote:"I just wanted to be as far away as possible from this outrageous war."]

So Um Zuhour fled Aleppo for and set off for Damascus two years ago with nothing but a few articles of clothing and some cash. The destruction she saw in Homs (watch Abeer Etefa's Diary from Homs), in the rural areas around Damascus and even in the capital itself on her 12-hour bus trip was enough to change her mind. So she gave up on Damascus and went to the city of Swaida, in the southwest. 

“I knew that we will be safe in Swaida, although I was worried about what to do for a living.”

Unfortunately, Um Zuhour found that living in Swaida is expensive. The locals there advised her to go to and settle in a nearby rural area called Qanawat. She rented an old black stone house, better than living in a tent or sharing space in a school, and the local community gave her mattresses and some blankets. Yet she still needed to earn a living so she could feed her young daughters. 

WFP food assistance for a new start

That is when she registered with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and started receiving WFP food assistance. The assistance covers nearly 60 percent of her family’s monthly food needs. It is a lifeline that is complemented by the edible wild herbs she collects from nearby orchards and some fruits and vegetables from her neighbors. 

Um Zuhour isn’t able to send her two eldest daughters to school. So they look after their younger sisters while their mother does seasonal work in town, picking apples, olives and grapes. This is the only way Um Zuhour can pay rent and buy fuel to heat their house.

[video:643423]Now her sister’s family has joined them, which means Um Zuhour is looking after nine people in all. She cannot feed everyone. Yet she believes that “God won’t forget us, even if people have.”

The Syrian conflict, which is almost four years old, has destroyed buildings, neighborhoods and large parts of major cities, devastating millions of lives. But it hasn’t destroyed hopes of going back home some day. This hope burns strong on dark nights and brings warmth to cold houses.

WFP and local partners are doing their utmost for all the families of Syria. We need your support to help families like Um Zuhour’s. 

The oldest inhabited city in the world, Aleppo is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and was once a popular tourist destination. It was also the industrial capital of Syria. Now it has become one of the world’s most dangerous places to live.

644013
11/17/2014 - 09:21
Purchase for Progress

Jane Bayitanunga, a mother of six, is a small-holder farmer in Iganga district in eastern Uganda.  She mostly grows maize and beans which she uses to feed her family and then sells the excess at the market.  Like many farmers in the area, Jane has been losing a significant portion of her harvest through bad storage practices.

“We took a lot of caution, harvesting our grain using baskets and tarpaulins to maintain the quality,” explained Jane. “But it was all a waste of time as when we got home we had no good place to store it and it would then get ruined by weevils or eaten by rats.  If I harvested five bags, one or two would be ruined after storing for a month.”

However thanks to a post-harvest loss minimization programme funded by WFP, Jane is one of over 16,000 low income farmers to realize more from their labour through improved post-harvest practices and storage equipment. To produce high quality grain, it is essential that farming households do their postharvest handling in a proper and timely manner. The programme not only trains farmers on how to do this but is providing household storage and handling equipment on a cost sharing basis.

Following a trial late last year, where the improved storage equipment registered a 98 percent reduction in losses, WFP increasing the programme this year to assist over 16,000 farmers (mostly women) throughout Uganda. WFP is promoting the most successful options from the trial – the metallic and plastic silos and the Super Grain bags – to enable households store food for family consumption or sale.  The project is aligned with a joint post-harvest loss minimization programme by the Rome-based agencies, namely WFP, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

“We are extremely happy that these silos have been introduced to us,” Jane said. “They reduce infestation and (aflatoxin) contamination, they help us keep everything that we grow and allow us to store it for as long as we want. Besides the silos themselves, we have acquired a useful new skill as we now know how to dry our grain before it can be stored well in the silos.”

Sophia Namugaya lives in Mwira village, a few kilometers away from Jane’s house. Last year, she harvested 3,000 kilos of maize grain and lost 80 percent of it to rats, contamination and infestation.  Such a significant loss had a huge economic impact on the family.  After acquiring her 1.3 metric ton capacity silo from WFP this year, she allocated it an entire room in her small house. She was happy to temporarily remove her roof in order to install the silo.

“This year I am confident that I will not lose any of the maize that I will store in the silo,” said Sophia with a broad smile. 
The WFP project is working in several districts across eastern Uganda, some of which were affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency.  David Olwoch, formerly of the internally displaced people’s camp of Kalongo in Agago, says that when he returned to his original home at the end of the LRA insurgency, there were few livelihood opportunities besides farming and yet there were no adequate means of storing his harvest.

“But now I have this (plastic) silo for household storage. I used it to store maize last year, now I am using it for my bean seeds. It is sealed and they are safe and in good condition. It keeps seeds very well for up to nine months, better than the means we used long time ago. Insects cannot enter it. I would like to buy another one, the bigger metallic type, so I can use one silo for maize and another for beans,” explained Olwoch.

Eradicating food losses throughout sub-Saharan Africa is a bold, but achievable target. By empowering farmers in countries like Uganda, WFP is assisting farming communities to achieve increased food security for many years to come.

Almost one third of the local farming production in sub-Saharan Africa is lost every year due to inadequate post-harvest management and household storage. In Uganda, WFP and its partners are combining their efforts to dramatically reduce these losses through a post-harvest loss reduction initiative.
643996
11/13/2014 - 16:22

FOYA (Liberia) -- The main market in Foya, a town in northern Liberia, has been closed for six months now. Most of the others in the surrounding Lofa County were also ordered to stop trading in recent months.

The scene is heart-breaking. Rotting wooden tables, weeds growing between them, and kids playing in the deserted alleys while singing anti-Ebola songs.
Lofa County is considered the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. This region, near the borders with both Sierra Leone and Guinea, is where everything started. It also is considered as Liberia’s breadbasket, the main rice-producing region.

Waves of Ebola

[quote:"Every day you would see dead bodies being transported on the road"]The Ebola outbreak hit Liberia in waves. In Foya, the disease came in June, when the farmers should have been planting the rice. “Every day you would see dead bodies being transported on the road,” Mary Wagbo says. “We were terribly frightened, we did not get out of the house.” 

As a result, Mary and her family planted late. Now they are busy hand-picking the rice, but this year’s crop will not feed the family for a year.

“If you plant the rice late in the season, it will be water-stressed and therefore produce less,” Alghassim Wurie, WFP Liberia deputy country director, explains. "As most rural farmers rely on rain-fed farming, the yield will be affected." 

Growing rice is very labour-intensive. In Liberia, many farmers are used to working together, using all available hands to take care of the fields. Once the work – be it planting, or weeding -  is done on one farm, all the workers move together to the next one. But it didn’t happen this year as people were afraid of gathering in large groups.

Trade between villages and bordering countries has also been affected. Ebola has halted most of the movements across the region throughout summer and autumn, either by mandatory quarantine measures or out of fear. [photo:643995]

Helping residents stay where they are

As a result, Lofa County inhabitants are poorer now than last year. The WFP mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping for Liberia, released on November 10, shows that many Liberians have seen their food purchasing power decrease, as a result of the Ebola Outbreak.

WFP has been providing food to nearly 300,000 people in Liberia in October. Distributions are being held in areas of intense and widespread transmission. The goal, set with Liberian authorities and international partners, is to help the residents stay where they are and therefore try to limit the transmission of the virus. 

Food rations are also provided, through local health authorities and partners,  to Ebola treatments units and to people have have survived Ebola.

From the empty market stalls to the late planting of rice crops, the impact of Ebola is visible in many ways in Liberia's Lofa County. WFP's Donaig Le Du travelled to the northern area to accompany food distribution teams. She sent back this blog, describing what she saw.

643993
11/13/2014 - 10:52
Responding to Emergencies

From the air Kamel looked like uninhabited bush. Once the helicopter transporting the joint rapid response team from the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and our partners landed in the clearing that served as an airstrip, we peered through the window and noticed there were women and children who suddenly appeared. They had heard the sound of the helicopter and had come to receive us.

They were very welcoming. They showed a site where we could set up camp. A few of us started by pitching tents while the others went around identifying a place where we could construct a bathroom and dig a latrine. I will spare you the details of how we survived until the latrines were operational three days later.

Kamel, in Pigi County in Jonglei State, is one of those locations where you can clearly see the impact of the conflict that erupted at the end of last year in South Sudan. Looking around my team members and I observed that there was little or no cultivation. There were no crops or livestock. Traditionally, communities in this part of the country are cattle keepers. To see a place where there was almost none shows how much this conflict has affected people; most have fled their homes or lost their livelihoods.  

Word quickly spread that humanitarian workers had come to bring food, nutrition and other assistance. It wasn’t too long before we began to see women and children, most of them looking tired and hungry coming on foot to our location. We held discussions with the local authorities and the community members to explain our work and procedures. Working with our partner Norwegian Peoples Aid (NPA), we registered nearly 10,000 individuals within 3 days despite constant interruptions by the rain. UNICEF, WFP and IOM jointly with the NGO partner Nile Hope screened just over 1,000 children for malnutrition.

I was really impressed by the community’s participation. They not only helped to identify a location that we could use as an air-drop zone, they volunteered people to cut the grass and help our staff mark it out. They also selected some women and men who were going to help collect the food bags and stack them in readiness for distribution. They also ensured that people were not around the zone during drops to avoid accidents.

Well, except for The Ostrich. There was an ostrich which seemed to have taken a liking for us and always came to our camp. It would come in the morning and basically escort us to the drop zone and distribution site. The problem though was that the big bird would often wander onto the drop zone just when we were expecting an airdrop. We would have to beckon it to come over and leave the area. It was not easy but for the three days during which the Ilyushin cargo planes dropped food, we had to go through the same exercise with The Ostrich.

I have to admit that I miss our friend The Ostrich. It became part of our lives. The funniest part was that it seemed to join the internally displaced people when they danced with joy after receiving food assistance.

After two weeks of us being in Kamel the place was no longer the same. Women could be seen busy cooking for their families while children played, which wasn’t the case before the food distribution. As I sat in the helicopter on our way back all the itches from mosquito bites seemed to be a distant memory. What kept ringing in my mind were the words of a woman after she had received her food:  “It is because of WFP food that our children are no longer miserable.” Now isn’t that worth another round in the field?

Story by Caroline Koromia, WFP South Sudan
 

As an Emergency Response Officer in South Sudan, Caroline Koromia has been leading emergency mobile teams to reach vulnerable people who have been isolated by conflict in some of the most food-insecure areas of the country since March 2014. She tells us about her recent experience in the locality of Kamel in Jonglei State.

643981
11/13/2014 - 08:48

[photo-collection:643990]

Give more children a chance at a bright future. Just $5 will provide a child school meals for an entire month. Donate now and our partner Knorr will match your gift, providing meals for not one but TWO months. www.wfp.org/match

[story:643859,643731]

Together with our partner Knorr, the World Food Programme is working with smallholder farmers to bring home grown school meals to more schools in Kenya. When school meals are locally grown, it’s not only the children who benefit – but entire communities.

See how this innovative approach is building brighter futures in Kenya…