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A unique view of all the ways WFP is assisting millions of people worldwide.

08/16/2016 - 14:00
Centre of Excellence Against Hunger

1) Brazil has made enormous improvements in nutrition in recent decades thanks to the mobilization of civil society, the allocation of resources to nutrition, and political commitment followed by action.

2) Stunting rates declined from 19 percent in 1989 to 7 percent in 2007, and wasting rates are very low at 2 percent. 

3) In 2010 Brazil included the human right to food in its constitution, one of only three countries in the world to do so. The law dictates freedom from hunger and malnutrition, and access to adequate and healthy food. 

4) Exclusive breastfeeding of infants under 6 months underwent a remarkable improvement from 2 percent in 1986 to 39 percent in 2006.  

5) Despite strong industry resistance, in 2015 Brazil managed to enforce a law regulating the marketing of breast milk substitutes.

6) Not all transitions have been for the better. Adult overweight and obesity are high at 54 percent and 20 percent respectively, and numbers are rising. 

7) Despite recent improvements in income distribution, poverty remains widespread, and food and nutrition insecurity remains a problem in some communities.  

8) Students in Brazilian public schools receive at least one meal per day as part of the National School Feeding Programme. Since 2009, a minimum of 30 percent of the programme’s food must be purchased from smallholder farmers, which supports farmers and increases access to fresh, nutritious food.

9) In 2014 Brazil issued ground-breaking dietary guidelines encouraging people to avoid ultra-processed products, cook whole foods at home, and to eat in company to increase enjoyment of food.

10) Since 2011 Brazil has been home to the Centre of Excellence against Hunger, a joint initiative between the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Brazilian Government. The Centre helps developing countries draw on Brazil’s experience in reducing malnutrition.


Sources: Global Nutrition ReportFood Security Portal

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

Over the past decades, Brazil has made sustained efforts to reduce malnutrition, and its commitment has paid off. While all eyes are on the country for the Rio 2016 Summer Games, we look at ten things to know about food and nutrition. 

08/16/2016 - 09:32

Besher, a driver for the World Food Programme in Syria, shares his story of working behind the wheel. It’s part of a series of local staff stories to mark World Humanitarian Day 2016.

08/12/2016 - 11:01

Being a humanitarian in Afghanistan isn’t an easy job, especially for a woman. Wahida Azizi shares her story about working to end hunger in her country, the third in our series featuring WFP workers in the countdown to World Humanitarian Day. 

08/11/2016 - 11:41

Read Momoh's story here.

Stay tuned as we introduce you to more humanitarian workers in the countdown to World Humanitarian Day. 

To mark World Humanitarian Day on 19 August, eight team members from the World Food Programme share their stories about working in their own countries to help end hunger. This is Momoh’s story from Sierra Leone.

08/11/2016 - 09:50

Women leading change

Driving down the historic Dar-ul-aman road, the remnants of King Amanullah’s Palace serve as a stark reminder of the days of war and instability in Kabul. Continue a little further and you will see an 80-acre expanse where 100 women are managing a farm through WFPs asset creation support in a partnership with UNDP and the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livelihood (MAIL). What makes this farm special is not just its location, but also the fact that it is Afghanistan’s first female-managed organic farm.  

Dar-ul-aman palace provides an impressive backdrop but for women like Nooria, the crops she can produce have a far greater impact © WFP/Fezeh Hosseini

As part of this six-month project which started in April 2016, 100 vulnerable women are being trained in various income generating skills such as vegetable cultivation, food processing and using new agricultural technology, enabling them to produce and package their vegetables for the market. These skills will help them earn money, feed their families and increase their self-sufficiency. 

Everyone has a story

The women involved all have a unique story to tell, whether they are the main breadwinners in their families, women who have returned after being displaced by conflict, or indeed those who are still away from their homes due to ongoing conflict.

Nooria, 45, says her main motivation to work on the farm is to put her five daughters through school. She has lived in a rental house in Kabul since she left her home in Logar province. “I have to wait another two months for the harvest so I can process and sell the vegetables in the market,” says Nooria. “It is a long time to wait but it makes me happy when I think about the money that I will earn at the end.”

Nooria receives her food ration for working on the farm © WFP/Fezeh Hosseini

Throughout the course of the project the women receive food assistance from WFP, which includes a monthly supply of 83 kilos of food including fortified wheat flour, pulses, fortified vegetable oil, and iodized salt. The project also provided employment for 240 men, who spent a month clearing the land for cultivation.

Building capacity  

MAIL provides technical support and farming land, while WFP and UNDP jointly implement the project through the local Women Agriculture Producers Group. This partnership not only empowers women at community level but also develops the capacity of the local trainers who help Afghan women learn marketable skills.

“I grew onions, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and radishes on the plot of land allocated for me, and it is so green now! I would not have thought it was possible,” says Zubaida, a 40-year-old mother of five. Her husband is ill so she has to earn money to look after her family.     
Originally from the Laal-o-SareJangal district of Ghor province, Zubaida and her family were forced to move to Kabul due to insecurity and unemployment seven years ago. She walks a long way every morning and evening to get to the farm. On top of her work in the farm, she produces tomato paste – an essential for Afghan cooking – to sell in the market or to her neighbours.

Zubaida works full time to produce quality vegetables for selling in the market © WFP/Fezeh Hosseini

Ensuring sustainability

To ensure the sustainability of the project until 2017, beneficiaries will also receive business management training and machinery to process and pack the food products and sell them on national and international markets. Pending a positive evaluation of the project, the Afghan government is considering extending it for another three years. 
WFPs assets creation support aims to mitigate the impact of natural disasters, build and strengthen the resilience of communities to shocks, and restore people’s livelihoods by increasing the overall productivity of soil, and upgrading irrigation systems to improve agricultural infrastructure.

Story and pictures © WFP/Fezeh Hosseini

Through a farming project in Afghanistan, 100 vulnerable women are learning income generating skills and business management including vegetable cultivation, food processing and using new agricultural technology, enabling them to produce and package their vegetables for the market. 

08/10/2016 - 23:37
Focus on Women

WFP has teamed up with the national government, Fundación Éxito, and the Milk League to raise awareness about the importance of child nutrition during the first 1,000 days –including breastfeeding—and the next steps Colombia should take to eradicate chronic malnutrition.

In parts of rural Colombia access to nutritious food can be scarce. Lack of readily available healthy foods is affecting the health and nutrition of many Colombian families. This is particularly worrisome for pregnant mothers as hunger starts in the womb. Malnutrition in the first 1,000 days can lead to irreversible damage to minds and bodies. 

[quote|"The first 1,000 days, including the nine months of pregnancy and the first 2 years of life, are key to achieving SDG 2. But to achieve SDG 2, we must strengthen families, communities, and livelihoods, especially in rural and ethnic communities." -Deborah Hines, WFP Representative in Colombia.]WFP’s alliance with the government, Fundación Éxito, and the Milk League makes an urgent call to increase the number of breastfeeding mothers in Colombia as a strategy to improve health, growth and development of children and as a way to help reduce child mortality associated with malnutrition. "During this time, the structures and nerve pathways of the brain are formed and they further improve according to their functions. This process is favored by an adequate nutrition, mainly based on breastfeeding.” affirmed Germán Jaramillo, Director of the Fundación Éxito.

Currently many Colombian mothers stop breastfeeding after 1.8 months whereas WHO recommends breastfeeding for at least six months and up to two years as complementary feeding. In some places in Colombia mothers stop breastfeeding before the first month.

WFP makes it a priority to nourish children through the whole life cycle, investing in the next generation for a world with zero hunger.

During the month of August special importance is given to increase knowledge about the benefits of breastfeeding. In Colombia this month has also been deemed the month for childhood nutrition.

08/10/2016 - 19:51

Photo: WFP/staff

Food distributions entail a daily ration of cereals, pulses, oil, vitamin and mineral enriched corn and soya flour, salt, or vouchers that families can use to buy the food listed above.

WFP seeks to provide assistance to the most vulnerable amongst those vulnerable, including people suffering from a disability or single-headed households.

Photo: IEDA Relief/Staff

Take Oumou (pictured below), a mother of four living in the region of Timbuktu, who lost an arm. She has received WFP food assistance since 2015 in the form of vouchers and she told members of the International Emergency and Development Aid (IEDA) Relief−an NGO partner assisting WFP to distribute food in Timbuktu−how this assistance has been helping her make ends meet.  

Photo: IEDA Relief/Staff

“Before receiving food assistance,” said Oumou, “it was extremely difficult to feed my family, even once a day.” Unable to participate in revenue creating activities, Oumou did all she could to feed her four children, but she has been faced with insurmountable hurdles.

These hurdles no longer exist for Oumou. With the vouchers, she can go to local markets to purchase food for her family and support the local economy at the same time.

Photo: IEDA Relief/Staff

Agasmane (pictured above), a 65-year-old man from Timbuktu region has been is paralyzed from the waist down. His situation makes the already difficult lean season that much more difficult for his family, including three children. And so, like Oumou, Agasmane has been receiving WFP food assistance since January 2015. Since receiving this assistance, Agasmane’s family can eat three times a day, even during the lean season, he says.

Photo: WFP/staff

Examples like Oumou and Agasmane show that with the support of our donors−particularly USAID, Canada, European Union/United Kingdom, Japan, United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UN CERF) and Switzerland−even the most vulnerable of populations can get adequate, nutritious food in the toughest period, enabling Mali to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goal 2−to reach Zero Hunger−one person at a time.

Photo: WFP/Staff 

Note: In 2015, WFP began a three-year relief and recovery operation in Mali to address the immediate food security and nutrition needs of an average of  1.1 million vulnerable people per year. WFP plans to support 1.3 million vulnerable people in 2016. Activities include providing emergency food, supporting the creation and rehabilitation of livelihood assets, preventing and treating malnutrition, and school feeding which aims to improve access to education. 

Photo: WFP/staff

Text: Laura Morris, WFP Mali. 



In Mali and throughout the Sahel, the lean season−a planting period from June to September when food from the previous harvest runs out−places serious stress on families. Many struggle to feed their families, at times taking extreme measures to put food on the table. During the current lean season, nearly 30 percent of the population struggles to have enough food to eat. To help families better cope during this season, WFP provides large-scale food distributions in four regions in northern Mali. 

08/10/2016 - 10:27
Disaster Risk Reduction

Similar to many places across the Philippines, the Municipality of San Joaquin, Iloilo is rich in history. Though efforts are placed into the preservation and documentation of its past, San Joaquin is a forward-thinking community that embraces change for the better. This mentality is obvious in the municipality’s approach to its emergency preparedness and response and to climate change.

Through a partnership between the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and the United Nations World Food Programme, the local government unit (LGU) of San Joaquin has tapped into a valuable sector to assist in the implementation of its activities – the youth.

“At the time, the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Act of 2010 or RA 10121 had just been passed so we were working to ensure that our municipality met the stipulations of the act,” explains San Joaquin Vice Mayor Marcelo Serag. “One of our priorities was to engage our community members because without their participation and support, implementation would be challenging.”

The LGU organised activities to bolster community support for San Joaquin’s DRR and climate change adaptation (CCA) efforts. Young people in the municipality are engaged through projects such as a DRR camp, volunteer projects, and youth DRR competition.

Students of Escalantera High School practice their bandaging techniques as part of their disaster preparedness and response.

DRR Camp: Learning the Basics

Even before partnering with WFP in 2011, the LGU had already been working to heighten the peoples’ engagement and awareness of DRR. One of these was San Joaquin’s first youth-targeted disaster risk reduction camp. Over the course of two days, 52 young participants, both in school and out-of-school, participated in coastal clean-ups, tree planting, solid waste management, and basic water search and rescue training. As the camp drew to a close, the LGU was certain there was more the youth could offer in the fields of disaster preparedness and response (DPR) and CCA.

“The government personnel handling the camp, including myself, were impressed. The young people had some good ideas on both preparedness and response measures, and their enthusiasm was second to none,” says Vice Mayor Serag.

Harnessing Youth as DRR Volunteers

The officials were so captivated by the youth’s participation that in 2012 the LGU launched a DRR and CCA Youth Volunteer Project entitled ‘Localizing and Strengthening Youth Participation in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management and Climate Change Adaptation’.San Joaquin’s youth act as an extension to the Municipal DRRM Office, under the guidance of its members.

The average age of participants was 16, and 60 percent of them were out-of-school. Most of the volunteers had taken part in the DRR youth-participated camp. Volunteers were trained in contingency planning, disaster training and family development sessions, response training, first aid, waste assessment and classification survey, and many others, in addition to the knowledge they gained the prior year. These sessions equip the young members to train and disseminate their skills and knowledge to the barangay and household levels, conceptualize activities, and to implement, monitor, and evaluate projects.

Frank, a 21-year old volunteer, continues to learn through the project. “In addition to the initial trainings we received, we also receive refresher courses at least twice every year,” he explains. “We’re constantly in the field be it for monitoring or trainings. We enjoy the work and we know its importance so we always strive to be at our best.”

Since the inception of the project, the team of volunteers has worked with different sectors of the community, from the elderly to grade school pupils. Being a member since the pilot phase, Frank has seen the value of his team’s work. “I know we’re making a difference by equipping people with this knowledge,” he says after closing an earthquake and fire drill at Matambog Elementary School.

Frank orients the students of Matambog Elementary School on the proper procedures during a fire such as the ‘stop, drop, and roll’.

“I’m extremely proud of our volunteers and what they’ve accomplished,” says Vice Mayor Serag. Aside from providing a positive influence on the municipality’s out-of-school youth, the project also serves as a stepping stone onto a career to DRR and CCA for its volunteers.

The volunteers’ commitment to the project is fueled by their shared passion for DRR and CCA. Without salaries, compensation comes in the form of small honorariums, meals, as well as travel allowance. “It isn’t much, so I always encourage our volunteers to take a better opportunity when it presents itself,” explains the Vice Mayor.

When one of the volunteers, Patrick, approached the Vice Mayor to explain an employment opportunity, he did not hesitate in giving his approval. “I know how skilled these kids are, so it didn’t surprise me when an NGO, one the LGU was working with at the time, wanted him to join their staff. It was a moment of great pride for the project,” he says. In the few months that followed, the moment would be duplicated when another volunteer, David, informed his team of joining an NGO as well.

“I will always pride myself in saying that two of our former volunteers are now employed by great NGOs and that they are now implementing their own DRR and CCA projects,” states the Vice Mayor.

Engaging Younger Students to Continue DRR Learning

In early 2015, the LGU began engaging an even younger audience through an annual DRR-themed competition between the high schools and elementary schools within the municipality known as the Youth DRR Olympics. Teams of twenty students from each school participate and each student is trained in DRR and CCA as well as first aid, vehicular extrication, and basic firefighting.

“We thought it would be a great way to spark young students’ interest in DRR and CCA,” explains Vice Mayor Serag. “In addition to acquiring important skills, the winning team receives a small cash prize. They and their school also receive certificates.”

Arnel of Escalantera High School practices the basics of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

“It’s a lot of fun for us, but we also take the lessons we’ve learned very seriously. We know it’s important,” says Arnel of Escalantera High School. “Even if we’re still young, it’s good to be prepared since a disaster or emergency can take place at any time.” Along with his teammates, Arnel is looking forward to this year’s Youth DRR Olympics. “We’re excited! We train and hone our skills quite often so we can win. We’ll do our best to win!” he explains.

With the foundation of the DRR and CCA Youth Volunteer Project in place, San Joaquin lies in skilled and youthful hands. 


All photos by WFP/Anthony Chase Lim.

In San Joaquin, Iloilo, young people play a big role in community disaster preparedness and response, as well as climate change projects.

08/09/2016 - 14:01

Read Lucy's story here

Stay tuned as we introduce you to more humanitarian workers in the count down to World Humanitarian Day.  

To mark World Humanitarian Day on 19 August, eight team members from the World Food Programme (WFP) share their stories about working in their own countries to help end hunger. The first in the series, this is Lucy’s story from South Sudan.

08/05/2016 - 14:07

Photo: food voucher distribution in Bangui. WFP/Bruno Djoyo

Madeleine Wayembo lives in Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui, with her eight children, five grandchildren, and her elderly mother. When renewed fighting erupted near her home last September, Madeleine was forced to flee to take her family to safety.

They have since returned home but their situation remains precarious. “We have been living without any resources. Sometimes we go for two days without eating, and for three months we could not afford to buy any meat or fish,” says Madeleine - a widow and sole provider for the family.

Since April, Madeleine has been receiving food assistance from WFP and its partner Oxfam in the form of food vouchers. This enables her to buy oil, manioc (a root vegetable also called cassava, a staple food in many central African diets), flour, groundnuts, meat, fresh and dried fish, and several other items. She can cook for her family, and stock some of the items to feed her family throughout the rest of the month.

Photo: Madeleine exchanges her newly collected voucher fo some food. WFP/Bruno Djoyo

The food assistance has come at a critical moment for her family, she says. “Without this support, our situation would have become even worse,” she says. Though the vouchers can only be used to purchase certain items from markets or shops that are part of the programme, Madeleine says the freedom to choose from a range of items and buy the quantity that she needs is invaluable.  

Photo: Madeleine exchanges her newly collected voucher fo some food. She buys some it at the market, some of it at a shop.WFP/Bruno Djoyo

“The vouchers are like money. I can go to the market with them and buy what my family needs,”she says.

Photo: Time for some dried, smoked fish.WFP/Bruno Djoyo

This year, WFP has provided voucher-based food assistance to nearly 60,000 people in Bangui with Oxfam and other partners.

The latest Emergency Food Security Assessment showed that more than half of the population - about 2.5 million people – face hunger, the result of years of continuous violence and upheaval.

While years of conflict have taken a heavy toll on the people of C.A.R., causing large-scale displacement and disrupting local agricultural production, the markets in Bangui recovered relatively quickly and are able to support the additional demand created by the vouchers.

As markets start to stabilize and return to normalcy elsewhere in the country, WFP aims to increase its use of market-based assistance to reach vulnerable populations and help the recovery of local economies.

Photo: Madeleine is getting ready to cook as she chats with our staff. WFP/Bruno Djoyo

For Madeleine and her family, the vouchers bring a glimmer of hope, and the possibility to cook again a local delicacy – sticky manioc balls and fish cooked with herbs. “Thank you for coming to our home,” says Madeleine. "Thank you for this meal with my family.”

The food voucher programme in Bangui is made possible thanks to the generous contributions of Saudi Arabia, Finland, France, Japan, and USAID. 

Photo: Madeleine's neighbours who are also part of the food voucher programme prepare meals for ther families. WFP/Bruno Djoyo

Story by: Andrea Markham, WFP C.A.R. Photos: Bruno Djoyo, WFP C.A.R.

Three years of violence have left a heavy toll on the people of the Central African Republic (CAR). In the capital, Bangui, the markets have recovered relatively quickly, however. Here, for thousands of people who have been formerly displaced or affected by the crisis, WFP's food vouchers bring a glimmer of hope and comfort.