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650424
10/05/2016 - 23:19
Cash and Vouchers, Climate Change, Contributions to WFP, Disaster Risk Reduction, Preventing Hunger

Climatic shocks have left Malawi suffering from its second meagre harvest in a row, triggering increased levels of acute food insecurity countrywide. To ensure assistance will reach the poorest in Malawi, WFP is linking its emergency assistance with the Government’s Social Cash Transfer Programme.

In southern Malawi, temperatures are already high in Chikwawa district where El Niño has left maize fields arid and overridden by dust. This is home for Enegentsi Mitha, a 70-year old woman caring for her five grandchildren, who were orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Since August 2015, Enegentsi has been receiving the equivalent of about USD 5.50 each month through the Social Cash Transfer Programme, which targets the ultra-poor who are unable to work so that they can afford basic needs like nutritious foods and schools fees.

In previous years, Malawians enrolled on the Social Cash Transfer Programme were excluded from receiving emergency assistance, despite them being the poorest of the poor. Local authorities designed assistance this way in an effort to spread available resources to as many community members as possible, against the backdrop of widespread poverty.

“We were able to eat just one meal each day,” explains Enegentisi in reference to previous years when she had to spend her full social cash transfer on food.

This year, WFP has worked with the government, partners and NGOs so that Enegentsi and other food insecure households receiving social cash transfers are not excluded from extra support during the lean season.

By insuring their inclusion, the emergency assistance addresses acute food insecurity with lifesaving food and cash-based assistance, allowing recipients to continue using the government’s social cash transfer to invest in the longer term development of their families, such as paying for school fees, maintaining their homes and investing in livestock.

Holesi Kalonga, a 72-year-old farmer who heads a household of 10 people, is also a recipient of social cash transfers and, like Enegentsi, is a first-time beneficiary of WFP’s emergency assistance this year, despite having faced acute food insecurity during previous lean seasons.

“We would have had a huge problem this year without the extra assistance,” says Holesi. “There would have been no food and it would have been difficult to continue sending our children to school.”

Now able to use WFP emergency cash assistance to purchase food, Holesi directs social cash transfer funds to pay for school fees, ensuring the continuation of his children’s education and other investments in his family’s livelihood.

Through the generous support of the Government of Malawi, USAID, UK aid, ECHO, the Netherlands, Japan, Australia, Norway and others, WFP was able to begin its emergency assistance programme July 2016. WFP now aims to scale-up to reach a total of 5.8 million Malawians with food and cash assistance from January to March 2017. An estimated 20 percent of households facing El Nino-induced food insecurity will receive both emergency assistance and social cash transfers this season. This is in line with WFP’s efforts in Malawi for better linkages between social protection systems and humanitarian relief during times of emergency.

In collaboration with the Government of Malawi, WFP recently hosted a high-level panel discussion on strengthening social protection systems within Malawi. International and local participants discussed ways that stronger and more responsive social protection systems can help reduce chronic need for Malawians like Enegentsi and Holesi and make them more resilient to future shocks. Looking forward, to break the cycle of food and nutrition insecurity, WFP hopes that by making social protection more shock responsive, Malawi will see a reduced need for future large-scale emergency humanitarian responses to food insecurity. 

WFP is trying to ensure that food assistance reaches the poorest in Malawi by linking its emergency relief operations with the Government’s Social Cash Transfer Programme.

650407
10/04/2016 - 08:56
Cash and Vouchers

In response to the El Nino drought in Zimbabwe, the World Food Programme (WFP) has recently launched a smart card to distribute food assistance and enable people to make their own purchase decisions about food and other basic needs.

“The card acts like the debit card of a local supermarket chain, where users can go shopping up to the limit on their card,” explains Edwin Brunner, WFP cash expert in Harare.[quote|“The card acts like the debit card of a local supermarket chain, where users can go shopping up to the limit on their card”.]“When the card needs to be re-loaded, it can be done so by remote. As with all cash based transfers, card systems work when there is food in the shops but people can’t afford to buy it - like in Zvishavane, where the smart card is being piloted,” he added.

WFP is quickly adapting to technological developments and changing operative environments by partnering with different technological and financial service providers, where possible moving away from distributing food rations to CBT so people can make choices. This smart card will give people affected by the drought a greater say in how they do their shopping. The card also saves them time and money previously spent in travelling to a food distribution site.

The smart card being piloted in Zimbabwe

How it works

The smart card is credited with a certain amount of cash or value, which can be exchanged for goods at selected retailers participating in the programme. Retailers use a Point of Sale (POS) machine to debit the e-card, like any other shop. However, the POS machine also works offline, enabling people in the most remote areas to use it. Transactions can be updated into the server once a day when online.

Transactions are done electronically, helping retailers being paid to re-stock, avoiding beneficiaries being exposed to security risks, and providing WFP real-time information on transactions. Programme participants need to have a secret four digit code when purchasing goods.

Bester holds the smart card after purchasing some food commodities. Picture: WFP/Tatenda Macheka

The smart card is supporting more than 25,000 people

Bester Sikwira, 64, smiles as she puts her smart card code in a point of sale which reads the text message:  “This account has $42 from the World Food Programme”. Bester can use the $42 to buy food for her family at one of many local shops in Zvishavane.

Through the card WFP is supporting more than 25,000 people who have been affected by drought. WFP deployed food security analysts, supply chain experts, and IT staff, who rapidly assessed the local shops and markets to review critical factors such as the availability, price, quality and nutritional requirements of the food for sale. With this information, staff concluded that food assistance through a smart card would be feasible, both logistically and financially.

“This is a better and easier way of buying things, I have plenty of choices of what to buy and when to buy it, I can purchase soap, sugar and salt. If I lose the card, its security features won’t allow anyone to use it, unlike hard cash,” said Bester. “It’s been a difficult time for me and my family because we didn’t harvest like we usually do but with the coming of the card, I think we will manage”.[quote|“This is a better and easier way of buying things, I have plenty of choices of what to buy and when to buy it, I can purchase soap, sugar and salt. If I lose the card, its security features won’t allow anyone to use it, unlike hard cash”.]

Communities benefit from WFP initiative

Villages in the district will also benefit from the money transacted to retailers. Maruva Midza, the owner of Emmanuel General Dealer, said her shop has never been this busy.

“We appreciate the introduction of the smart card. We have never been this busy even during the festive season. We are having quick profits, with the number of customers increasing each day. I have learned good customer relations management skills, I am also employing an additional shopkeeper to deal with the demand during peak hours,” she added.

For Bester, it is not certain that she will be able to harvest this coming season, but what is important for her now is to receive cash in her smart card which will help her family.                                                                                        Bester and her neighbour in  a scotch cart going back home happy. Picture: WFP/Tatenda Macheka 

Southern Africa is reeling from the worst drought in three decades. In Zimbabwe, more than four million people are struggling to put food on their tables. Without adequate and timely assistance, rural communities could lose years of hard-won development gains. WFP is evolving its response to hunger, using technology and cash-based transfers (CBT) to make a difference in people's lives.

650632
09/30/2016 - 16:28

Kalobeyei was opened in order to decongest the nearby Kakuma refugee camp.  The settlement is unique in Kenya as it aims to help better integrate the refugee population with the local host population and create economic opportunities in agriculture and trade.  It offers an opportunity to try a more durable solution to hosting refugees since the refugees will live, farm and trade side-by-side with the local population.  This new hybrid settlement has the capacity to accommodate 60,000 refugees and 23,000 people from the host population.    

“I fled South Sudan in April. I stayed at the reception centre in Kakuma for two months and in June, I was moved here,” said Regina Ojum, a 35-year-old mother of three. “I’m expecting a new baby any time now and I’m happy to be settled.”

Regina is among the refugees that are receiving their food entitlement almost entirely via a mobile cash transfer known as Bamba Chakula.  The only commodity collected in-kind is the nutritious corn-soya blend, given to children under the age of five and to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.

“I buy maize, beans, rice, oil, millet, vegetables, milk and meat,” said Regina. “Bamba Chakula is very good.”

Bamba Chakula - Food Plate

The World Food Programme introduced Bamba Chakula cash transfers to refugees in Kakuma in August 2015 and in Dadaab in January 2016. The cash is sent via mobile phones and can only be redeemed for food items at a Bamba Chakula trader. In Kalobeyei, WFP is still recruiting traders into the programme and have currently signed up 20 traders, 15 of whom are refugees

The cash transfer started out at a test value of 100 Kenyan shillings per refugee per month. WFP has gradually increased the value as it reduces the amount of in-kind food given at the food distribution centres.  In Kalobeyei, WFP is currently providing around 1,500 Kenya Shillings (US$15) for each refugee every month, which is enough for 80 percent of the minimum healthy basket, with nutritious corn-soya blend covering the remaining nutrition requirement.  In Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps, each person is receiving between 200 and 500 Kenyan Shillings (US$2 -5) per month depending on the size of the family. This covers between 30 and 35 percent of the food basket with the remainder given in-kind. This gradual increase has been achieved through the generous support of WFP’s donors.

Bamba Chakula should definitely continue. In fact, you [WFP] should increase the amount. I like it because I buy whatever type of food I want,” said an enthusiastic Karen Nakiiru, a 24-year-old mother of three. “The food I buy with my Bamba Chakula lasts me for the month – that is if I don’t share.  I would like support to start a shop and be one of the traders,” added Karen who, prior to fleeing Torit in the Equatoria region of South Sudan, was a business-woman.

Trying a new approach

Unlike other refugee camps in Kenya, in Kalobeyei families can continue earning a living using the skillsets they already possess. A section of the settlement has been set aside for farming while construction of a ‘business park’ is underway, which will be shared among the refugees and the local population. The model is meant to allow refugees to sustain themselves rather than rely on external assistance. Most, if not all refugees settled here are cultivating small vegetable gardens.

With more nutritious foods in the Kalobeyei market, and funding permitting, WFP could provide refugees in Kalobeyei with enough Bamba Chakula cash (around 1,900 Kenyan Shillings each month) to meet all of the minimum nutritional requirements.  As the refugees become more self-reliant, WFP will gradually decrease the amount of Bamba Chakula cash.

In Kalobeyei, cash transfers are supported by Canada, DFID, European Commission Humanitarian Aid, Germany (German Foreign Office) and Japan. The European Union and the German Development Ministry (BMZ) are supporting are supporting development and market-related activities.

Kalobeyei settlement in Northern Kenya opened in June 2016 and is now hosting close to 6,000 refugees, mostly from South Sudan. The hybrid settlement aims to integrate the refugees with the local population, creating a strong bond in trade, education, and livelihoods. In Kalobeyei, WFP is giving refugees their food entitlement almost entirely in the form of cash transfers known as Bamba Chakula. 

650395
09/28/2016 - 13:06
Focus on Women

In the village of Soamanitse in the district of Beloha district, Ranosesee (52), is looking after her grandson while her daughter, a single mother, is out fetching water and looking for wild fruits. Their small wooden hut is surrounded by cactus and a few trees growing in sandy soil. 

As in previous years, they and their neighbours have been able to harvest little. They rely on monthly supplies of maize and sorghum from the World Food Programme. 
“It would be difficult to survive without it,” says Ranosesee. “Many people have been forced to sell household belongings such as kitchen utensils or small livestock. I've been clearing cactus from my field so we can try and grow maize when the next rains come. The problem is that I tried and failed to plant so many times last season that I have no seeds left."

Ranosesee’s neighbor, Fiamina, usually grows maize, cassava, watermelon and sorghum.  She also tried to plant several times last season but the lack of rainfall and strong winds dried everything up. Her husband (78) has become so weak that he can no longer work in their field. Fiamina’s lost three of her children to hunger-related diseases over the last two years. 

“They became really thin and weak, and were suffering from high fever," says the mother.  

Ranosese cooks maize donated by USAID for her family in her hut.

Ranosese and Fiamina are among some 300,000 people who receive relief assistance through general food distributions conducted by WFP with support from local non-governmental organizations. In areas where food is available and markets are functioning, some 80,000 Malagasy, receive cash so they can choose their own food.  

In addition, WFP will provide food to vulnerable communities, complementing the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) which supply tools and drought resistant seeds.
In the most severely affected districts, as many as 15 percent of children under the age of five are malnourished. That is why WFP provides Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) treatment for the 36,000 children under the age of five affected by malnutrition.

A healthcare worker assesses a boy for malnutrition in the village of Soamanitse.

“The mothers all say their children are healthier because of the nutrition supplements they receive,” says Sara, a community worker. “Nevertheless, we still see many cases of malnutrition and immediately refer them to the health services.” 

WFP’s assistance is made possible thanks to the support from donors such as the European Union, France, Switzerland, the United States and the Government of Madagascar through the National Office for Nutrition. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following three years of consecutive drought in the semi-arid south of Madagascar, it is estimated that 1.2 million people will be food insecure at the height of the lean season later this year and into 2017 – this number includes 600,000 in immediate need of humanitarian assistance. This report comes from the Androy region.  

650374
09/22/2016 - 15:01
Climate Change

Boyd

Boyd, R4 participant, next to his crops. Photo: WFP/ Evin Joyce

Boyd Mungalu, R4 participant in Pemba district in southern Zambia, says that he will remember last year’s agricultural season for the “dry spells” that caused most of his maize crop to wither and die before it could reach waist height. Boyd is one of the millions smallholder farmers across southern Zambia, and tens of million across southern Africa, whose crop production has been challenged by a late onset of rainfall, punctuated by extended dry spells due to the El Niño event. 
Boyd explains that in a good season his maize harvest, the country’s staple crop, can fill up 136 bags. During this agricultural season, the yield was enough only for 25 bags.

Yet, he says with a smile: “It was a good year for me though, my cowpeas performed very well”. Indeed, thanks to the R4 initiative that introduced him to conservation agriculture, he focused on crop diversification and on the cultivation of drought-resistant crops such as cowpeas and sunflower, which gave him an abundant harvest.

 

“It was a good year for me though, my cowpeas performed very well.” Photo: WFP/Evin Joyce

Mainner

Mainner, R4 participant, in her garden. Photo: WFP/Evin Joyce

Mainner Chabota, another R4 participant, tells us that while in 2014 she planted 40 kg of maize seeds and 5kg of cowpea seeds, last year she applied conservation agriculture techniques learned through the R4-FAO’s Conservation Agriculture Scaling Up project (CASU) partnership, and she switched the quantity of crops planted. She decreased maize to 15 kg and increased cowpeas to 40 kg. Despite her maize crop wilted at an early stage, the cowpeas kept growing. 

“R4 has given us a good lesson. Now I need more knowledge on how to garden and how to sell my produce once it has grown.”

“R4 has given us a good lesson. Now I need more knowledge on how to garden and how to sell my produce once it has grown.” Photo: WFP/Evin Joyce

Facing El Niño with the right crops

The latest El Niño was one of the strongest on record and caused the worst drought in southern Africa in the past 35 years. Despite this, Boyd and Mainner managed to mitigate its impacts by successfully applying conservation agriculture techniques and focusing their agricultural production on crops that better resist to droughts, such as cowpeas. This allowed them to meet their subsistence needs, and Mainner even gained a surplus for sale. This was possible thanks to the R4 initiative, which combines weather-index insurance with conservation agriculture techniques by partnering with FAO’s Conservation Agriculture Scaling Up project (CASU). Such integrated approach to climate risk management improved farmers’ natural resource management, reducing their risks to climatic shocks. 

Conservation agriculture is a climate smart agriculture technique that promotes crop rotation, minimum soil tillage and permanent soil cover to restore fertility and improve productivity. The adoption of conservation agriculture promotes resilience by steadily decreasing vulnerability to climate variability and shocks over time. 

A model to build resilience

The Rural Resilience Initiative (R4) is a strategic partnership with Oxfam America that aims to strengthen farmers’ food and income security in face of increasing climate risks through four risk management strategies. R4 combines improved resource management (risk reduction), insurance (risk transfer), livelihoods diversification and microcredit (prudent risk taking) and savings (risk reserves). 

In Zambia, the R4 model has been adapted to address the specific local challenges. The Initiative targets poor and food insecure smallholder households that, provided with a set of interventions - including agricultural inputs, improved agricultural practices, as well as financial services - are able to raise their productivity to meet their subsistence needs and gain from surplus sale. 

Once farmers start practising conservation agriculture, they can access a package of risk management services, namely: 
- Weather index insurance to safeguard their investment in conservation agriculture through critical phases in the crops growing period; 
- Credit and savings, to invest in their land, as well as in other income-generating activities;
- Enhanced linkages to markets to provide farmers with the opportunity to sell their products at a fair price. 

To learn more about R4 click here.

In Zambia, smallholder farmers rely on rain-fed agriculture and constantly face challenges such as erratic rainfall, fragile soil and poor access to markets. Climate change places an additional burden on farmers’ food security by increasing the frequency and intensity of shocks including drought and flooding. That is why WFP is helping farmers build their resilience to such shocks through the Rural Resilience Initiative (R4), an integrated risk management strategy which aims to strengthen farmers’ food and income security in an uncertain world.

By Evin Joyce and Arianna Tabegna

650369
09/22/2016 - 13:25

The simple tenet of sharing food with others who have none runs through all religions. The act of ‘breaking bread’ was the inspiration for the eponymous event co-hosted by the World Food Programme and held on 21 September during the UN General Assembly’s High Level Week in New York.

It gathered representatives from different faith-based organization to celebrate the inspirational role of faith communities in alleviating hunger and affirm joining together to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger.

“We are gathered together tonight as communities of faith,” opened Master of Ceremonies, Joshua DuBois, who worked on faith-based partnerships for US President Barack Obama. “With the power of faith and the diligence of our work together, we believe that zero hunger is achievable in our lifetimes,” he added, setting the tone for the event which gathered representatives from different UN agencies as well as Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu communities and organizations.

“Hunger has no religion; hunger has no culture; hunger has no nationality. Yet every religion, every faith, requires that we feed the hungry,” said Executive Director of the World Food Programme, Ertharin Cousin.

“Tonight as we break bread, express our support and honour faith, we symbolize our friendship, commitment and solidarity towards the 795 million people who will go to bed hungry tonight, who are depending on us to change the opportunities for them,” she continued. “They depend upon our commitment to share food with those who are in need.”

A celebration of diversity

The event was marked by colorful moments of music and performance. The New York Andalus Ensemble sang a mix of Arabic and Hebrew, in a celebration of diversity. A spoken word performance by Trace DePass and Talia Wray brought to life the stories of the people that the World Food Programme serves. 

One story was of Juan from Ecuador: “Sharing food together is a blessing: having a family, a wife, and food,” his words articulated through the performers. “Food tastes better when we are together. For both my wife and for me, it is a joy to see our children satisfied after eating a meal.”

Another was the story of Zakariya, who worked to deliver food and medicine to his compatriots in Syria. “The first time I was delivering food I was so nervous. What should I say? I wanted to show them that I am exactly like them. I didn’t know how to knock on the door or how to tell them to take the food. It is hard to say how they felt when they received the food – they were happy and ashamed at the same time, and so was I.” The performance ended with his poignant words: “Food is the most important gift in life because it is life.” 

The event was streamed live on Facebook, watched by  thousands of people across the globe, many of whom shared messages of what breaking bread means to them: “Breaking bread together is what unites all and enables us to connect,” said one follower on Facebook. Another commented, “’Being able to eat whatever you want to eat is not a luxury. It’s a basic human right’ – Could not agree more.”

“Thanks for going live and letting the Facebook community around the world be part of the event. Very interesting!”

 

Catch up on the rest of the UN General Assembly High Level Week through our stories on Medium, and you can follow WFP at #UNGA though our FacebookTwitter and Instagram.  

The World Food Programme co-hosts Breaking Bread, an interfaith event held during the UN General Assembly’s High Level Week.

650367
09/21/2016 - 17:04
Nutrition

Q/ Madame Ambassador, you recently visited Kibangu health centre in ex-Katanga province to see activities to combat malnutrition that are funded by Canada. What were your impressions?

R/ It was my first opportunity to visit a project focussed on malnutrition, a sad occurrence in too many parts of this country that should otherwise be a land of plenty. I found it very interesting and gratifying to see first-hand the interaction between the different players involved and the community and to see that our funding is clearly producing results. I especially appreciated the careful thought put into implementing integrated strategies that should help ensure sustainability, including improved food eating and harvesting habits. 

Madame the Ambassador with the nurse in chief of the Kibangu health centre. Photo © WFP/Françoise Kanam

 

Q/ What are your thoughts on WFP’s collaboration with local and international aid organisations? 

R/ I was very impressed with the level of dedication demonstrated by all the parties involved in supporting this effort to end malnutrition in these communities. The good results are clearly linked to the excellent integrated communication and implementation strategies put in place.

Q/ Did you have the opportunity to talk to any of the recipients of assistance? 

R/ I did have the opportunity to interact with beneficiaries and welcome appreciation of the efforts put in place to assist them in becoming healthier mothers and have healthier children. They are clearly concerned that the progress made is not lost and their requests for increased income generation and literacy opportunities reflect their understanding, a significant result in itself of the programme, that they must take charge of their lives. I encourage the local authorities to consider their needs as they move forward with socio-economic development plans for the province.

Welcome word from the community of Kibangu photo © WFP/Françoise Kanam

 

Q/ Canada is one of our most valuable donors.  What are the future prospects of Canada and WFP collaboration in DRC?

R/ WFP is a major partner for Canada globally.  Given the needs in the DRC, I expect that Canada will continue to turn to the WFP to help deliver the same results that I saw at the Kibungu Health Clinic. Of course, we all hope that a time will come when the DRC is able to meet the basic needs of its population and create the conditions for increased prosperity overall, but meanwhile Canada will continue to work with valued partners such as the WFP to help the most vulnerable communities in this country.

 

Canadian Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ginette Martin, recently traveled to Haut-Katanga province where she visited activities implemented by WFP with funding from the Government of Canada. Upon Ms. Ginette's return to Kinshasa, the DRC capital, we caught up with her to get her impressions of the mission.

650364
09/21/2016 - 12:15

Across cultures, countries and religions, bread has been eaten and shared for thousands of years. Such is the central role of bread in many communities that in Egyptian Arabic the word for bread, aish, is the same as the word for life. 

Bread is also at the centre of an interfaith event, Breaking Bread, co-hosted by the World Food Programme during the UN General Assembly’s High Level Week. The term breaking bread refers to the act of tearing bread in order to share it, but also more commonly refers to coming together to share food and spread peace.

Forging a faith-inspired path to Zero Hunger

The simple tenet of sharing food with others who have none runs through all religions. At the Breaking Bread event, on Wednesday 21 September in New York at 6pm EST, the World Food Programme will be forging a faith-inspired path to the Global Goal of Zero Hunger, with partners including Islamic Relief, Caritas, FAO and others. 

Faith groups and the UN will come together to celebrate the work of many faith communities in alleviating hunger, and to commit to a strong inter-faith partnership to accelerate progress towards Zero Hunger.

With 795 million hungry people in the world today, ending hunger by the Global Goals’ deadline of 2030 is possible only with stronger partnerships with governments, civil society including religious communities, the UN, non-government groups and the private sector. 

The Breaking Bread event comes after WFP convened discussions with a broad range of religious leaders in June 2016 in Rome which provided a rich set of exchanged ideas. Inspired by that session, Breaking Bread brings partners together in an affirming celebration of the spirit of interfaith partnership to reach Zero Hunger. 

A joyous event

The Master of Ceremonies for the event is Joshua DuBois, who worked on faith-based partnerships for US President Barack Obama, and is author of a book of devotionals based on the daily uplifting messages he still sends to the President. 

Remarks will be given by Jose Graziano da Silva, Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Joseph Donnelly from Caritas Internationalis and Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven from the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. Remarks and reflections will also be shared by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Anwar Khan from Islamic Relief USA, Ramaswamy Mohan from the Hindu Temple Society of North America, Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky from the Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue, Ven. Chung Ohun Lee from Won Buddhism International, and Kevin Jenkins, President and CEO of World Vision. 

Musical performances will feature American  musician and singer Cody Chesnutt, and the NY Andalus Ensemble, as well as a spoken word performance by Trace DePass and Talia Wray, accompanied by musician Nkosi Nkululeko. 

A highlight of the event will be an exchange of Zero Hunger ribbons where guests will be invited to tie a ribbon around their wrist as a sign of their commitment to our collective work to end hunger. 

What does #BreakingBread mean to you? 

You can join in by following WFP on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

You can also follow the event partners on Twitter:
Islamic Relief @IslamicRelief
Caritas @iamCARITAS
FAO @FAONewYork
World Vision @foodWV

The collective call to action is for everyone, whether at the event in New York or following the #BreakingBread conversation on Facebook and Twitter, to echo the message that Zero Hunger can be achieved through working together. United, we have the power to reach zero hunger.

One way that you can take part is to share your thoughts on what breaking bread means to you. Share a message, a photo or a video with the hashtag #BreakingBread. 

Event Details

Breaking Bread interfaith event
Church Centre for the United Nations, 77 United Nations Plaza
Wednesday, 21 September 2016, 1800 – 1930 EST

If you’re in New York and attending #UNGA, you can RSVP to the Breaking Bread event here: wfp.org/breakingbread

 

As the World Food Programme co-hosts the interfaith event Breaking Bread during the UN General Assembly’s High Level Week, we ask what sharing this symbolic food means to you. 

650351
09/16/2016 - 14:31
Cash and Vouchers

MORA, Far North region – Tens of thousands of displaced families have flocked in the town of Mora, near the Nigerian frontier, to escape Boko haram insurgency, which has ravaged villages along the border for over two years now. Homes destroyed and families torn apart, many women are left alone to care for the household as their husbands have been killed in attacks or deserted the family to find work elsewhere. In Mora, WFP cash assistance programmes, which exclusively target single women households, provide some relief in the turmoil of chaos.

  

Fadi has been displaced in Mora for two years. As a sole carer for 10 children, the main challenge is to put food on the table every day. “I lost my work and all my property as Boko Haram burned down the house we lived in”, she explains. “My husband is no longer with us, so how will I alone provide for the children?"

Since May this year, she has received 110,000 FCFA (about USD $198) every month for her and the children. The cash allowance, sent by WFP through her mobile phone, can be spend in selected local shops. The cash transfers give her a sense of normality, as she can go to the local market to buy meat, canned fish, rice, milk for the children, and other products to prepare the meals of her preference. She can save some of the money on her phone, or spend it all at once – it is up to her to choose.   

  

Meanwhile in eastern Cameroon, three refugee women from the Central African Republic have profited from the increased market demand that the cash transfer programs brings, to start up a small shop where they sell cassava flour, a locally preferred staple food. The women are amongst 30 local traders in the Gado refugee camp, working with WFP to provide sufficient availability of diversified food products.

The cassava flour is highly appreciated amongst the local communities, frequently used by women in their daily cooking traditions. “We have more than 150 people come in to the shop every day”, says Fatosaleh, the shop founder. In a month, the sales can reach over 14 tons of cassava flower to a price of 11 million FCFA.  

  

The women purchase their products in nearby market, but lately, prices have gone up as the rainy season is under way and local transporters have difficulties to reach their destinations. Their earnings have decreased in the past weeks.

But Fatosaleh stays positive – “as long as I have my business, I can make a living here in Cameroon and I hope the market will return to our favor once the rains have passed”, she explains, “We know it is not yet safe to return to our village in CAR and we cannot go home. But here in Cameroon we have found some peace.”

                                                                           

Cameroon is home to over 190,000 internally displaced persons and 340,000 refugees, both from Nigeria and the Central African Republic, who have fled conflict and escalating violence spilling across borders. Dispersed in camps, temporary settlements or amongst local people in poor communities, the relief assistance they receive from the humanitarian community is often all they have to survive.

                                                                                                                

WFP and partners are helping those most in need with food and nutrition support activities to address food insecurity and high rates of malnutrition amongst young children and mothers. In 2016, the aim is to assist 500,000 people in Cameroon, including refugees, IDPs, and the most food insecure local communities.

WFP started distributing cash to some families in late May, and plans to extend assistance to areas where food is available and markets are functioning, to allow people to buy the food that they need, while also supporting the local economy. While aiming to expand the programme, WFP will take more efforts to support women’s engagement in market activities, considering that cultural barriers often hinder their participation.

The cash assistance programmes is being implemented with the generous support from donors like the EU, France, UK, Germany, Canada, and UN CERF.  

Written by Sofia Engdahl, WFP Cameroon. All photos: WFP/Sofia Engdahl

This year, WFP introduced mobile-phone based cash assistance for the first time in Cameroon. Cash transfers, which replace monthly food rations, provide the most vulnerable refugees and displaced Cameroonian families with freedom to buy the products of their choice, to meet their most urgent food needs. For some, it is not only a means of providing food for the family, but also an opportunity to engage in income generating activities.

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09/13/2016 - 21:17
Students

GODAN was formed to encourage world leaders to make their data in agriculture and nutrition open so that it is freely available and usable worldwide for better policy and decision-making. By opening that data, the aim is to achieve the UN goal for Zero Hunger by 2030.

Two students from Auburn University in Alabama, US, have high hopes that the summit will be the launching pad for an idea they have to end hunger in their own community. Ruthie Wofford and Molly Rhodes, both seniors, have been collaborating on an app that would connect local farmers and gardeners with important market and nutrition information, provide a step-by-step guide to gardening and farming based on weather and location, and eventually, become a platform for shared success stories.

[quote|“As a student, it would have been easy to ignore the poverty just outside the university, but when I began working with local food pantries, it became apparent to me how ingrained it is in the Lee County area where we are in school.” ~Ruthie Wofford]

The idea for the app stemmed from seeing poverty and hunger in the area surrounding their school. Lee County, in eastern Alabama, is among the highest in the nation for food insecurity, yet the terrain is very viable for farming and agriculture.

“As a student, it would have been easy to ignore the poverty just outside the university, but when I began working with local food pantries, it became apparent to me how ingrained it is in the Lee County area where we are in school,” said Wofford.

As part of the summit, GODAN will host a 24-hour hackathon for young entrepreneurs where Ruthie and Molly will have a chance to present their app, collaborate with innovators and students of all different backgrounds and source data to develop the platform.

[quote|“The hackathon will give us the opportunity to take our idea and develop it into a usable product that will make an impact back home.” ~Molly Rhodes]

“The hackathon will give us the opportunity to take our idea and develop it into a usable product that will make an impact back home,” said Rhodes.

The GODAN Summit was developed to illustrate the opening, use, and importance of agriculture and nutrition data as a critical tool in the fight against hunger. This year’s speakers include WFP Deputy Executive Director Amir Abdulla, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, ONE Campaign Agriculture Policy Director Kate Van Waes and a slew of the brightest minds working at the intersection of food security, agriculture and nutrition and technology.

The summit will take place at the New York Hilton Midtown, 1335 Avenue of the Americas. For more information or to register: http://summit.godan.info/register/.  

To learn how open data is improving food security around the world, click here.

(Picture 1: Ruthie Wofford (center) and volunteers prepping food donations for a local food bank)

(Picture 2 (left to right): Ruthie Wofford and Molly Rhodes)

 

On September 15-16, public and private leaders, researchers and advocates will convene in New York City at the annual Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) Summit to address the use of “open data” in combating hunger and to showcase innovative open data success stories from across the world. Open data is data that can be freely used, re-used and re-distributed by anyone, and this summit is the largest gathering ever planned around open data in agriculture and nutrition.