The World Food Programme is mostly referred to as the WFP. The WFP is entirely funded by donations. The WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency that is fighting hunger on a worldwide scale. The WFP has 5 main objectives and everything they do is aimed towards these. They are:
- In an emergency situation, to save lives and to protect the livelihoods of those affected
- To be very well prepared for emergencies
- To help people rebuild their lives after an emergency and restore their lives to normal
- To prevent or reduce undernutrition and chronic hunger
- To help make countries be able to reduce hunger levels at a nationwide level
The operations of the WFP aim to get food assistance for 90,000,000+ people in seventy-five different countries.
The WFP are a frontline agency for the United Nations fighting in the war against hunger. They are responding continually to emergencies and are saving thousands of lives by getting food to them quickly.
In addition to their emergency response the WFP are also continually working to prevent hunger in the first place. This is done by providing food security, i.e. using food as a means to build up strong assets, allowing communities to become stronger, more dynamic and more knowledgeable about food and agriculture.
Here are just two of the ways the WFP is helping to improve lives:
In poor countries the attendance of school is always very low. Quite often the parents would rather keep them off school so that they can help around the home or look after their brothers and sisters. But when the promise of a hot and nutritious meal is on offer things change. School attendance rates tend to double. Girls tend to benefit more than boys from school meals as they then get the chance to learn. If it were not for the school meals the chances of them having no school education is very high.
Food For Assets (a.k.a. Food For Work)
By providing food in return for work is a brilliant scheme in which community members are given food in return for their work on building an infrastructure or learning new skills to provide food security. This is typically work in these areas:
- Irrigation. Proper irrigation is essential in countries that suffer from drought. Improving irrigation can easily double crop yiels and in some circumstances increase it fourfold
- In countries that have been at war, food assistance is often given in return for the surrender of weapons that have been used in combat. The ex-fighters can now learn new skills and re-integrate themselves into society
- Building schools and being rewarded with food
- Food is given to people as they create their own gardening business, so that they can concentrate on the buisness rather than just feeding their family
In addition to the above the WFP provides a number of other projects:
- Cash and Vouchers: which is about finding new and different approaches to food aid
- Purchase for Progress: which helps to properly connect farmers to the market
- The fight against AIDS and HIV, this is a problem worldwide and helping people live with HIV is very important
- The well being, role and position of women in society and communities
- The analysis of food security and understanding where the areas of vulnerability are
- Nutrition and the right kind of food to eat
- Logistics: how the food is delivered to the people who need it
The WFP have a superb website that is informative and easy to use, we suggest you go and take a look at it if you haven’t already.