Saturday, October 16, 2010

World Food Programme celebrates National Leadership to end Hunger and Malnutrition

ROME –The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today marks World Food Day by celebrating the bold leadership and outstanding contributions of national governments toward lasting solutions to hunger and malnutrition.

“When we act together we have the power to bring about real change in the lives of millions of people who would otherwise struggle to feed their families,” said WFP Deputy Executive Director for Hunger Solutions, Sheila Sisulu. “Through our partnerships with governments, local authorities and small-scale farmers, WFP is helping to roll out innovative programmes that boost nutrition, and build sustainable solutions to hunger.”

Just last month, the government of Cape Verde took over full ownership of the national school meals programme after more than three decades of cooperation with WFP. The transition is a glowing example of a country-led solution to hunger, and maintains a programme that helps children to develop healthy minds and bodies while investing in the future of Cape Verde and its people.

“Leaders are seizing the opportunity to align effective policies, programmes and resources behind national and regional priorities,” Sisulu added, highlighting the impact of comprehensive national strategies designed to boost farm production, improve nutrition, strengthen social protection systems and ensure that children have access to the right food at the right time.

With unparalleled deep field presence in more than 70 countries around the world and more than four decades of experience meeting the food and nutritional needs of women, children and families, WFP is proud to work closely with national governments, foundations, private sector businesses, NGOs and others to inform the development of country-led food security plans and support their successful execution.

In many of the regions where WFP works, countries are leading the way in developing food and nutrition safety nets. WFP plays a vital supporting role by providing the expertise, resources to design, scale up and connect these sustainable and innovative programmes and transform a bold vision for lasting food security into a concrete reality for many in need.

“We believe that, working together with the communities we serve as well as with our government and NGO partners, the fight against hunger is a winnable one”, said WFP Philippines Country Director and Representative Stephen Anderson.

An innovative combination of political will, resources and convergence of efforts and application of appropriate technology is crucial for the Philippines.

“We need a ‘business unusual’ approach in the country –that is, boosting our support to the government’s expanding safety net activities while also implementing programmes aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity and nutrition at the household level and promotion of decent employment opportunities to ensure sustainable access to food,” Anderson added.

The theme of this year’s World Food Day - “United Against Hunger” – was chosen to recognise efforts made in the fight against hunger at national, regional and international levels. WFP’s contribution to country-led food security plans builds on this theme through the deployment of an array of innovative tools that vary from country to country. All are focused on harnessing agricultural potential to improve access to the nutritious food that is the building block of life. Examples include:

EGYPT –WFP and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) have been working with the government of Egypt on a nationwide project to fortify wheat flour – the basic ingredient in the staple food, baladi bread – and thereby protect 50 million Egyptians from anaemia and other micronutrient deficiencies. The successful implementation of the flour fortification programme resulted in the Government of Egypt's adoption of a new national programme with WFP to fortify subsidized vegetable oil with vitamins A and D, reaching over 60 million Egyptians.

GHANA – WFP’s school meals programme in Ghana now provides midday meals for 150,000 children a day, using food that is grown by Ghanaian farmers. Working with the government and purchasing school meal food locally, WFP is supporting education, increasing the income of local farmers and reducing short-term hunger and malnutrition by providing food fortified with vitamins and minerals.

GUATEMALA – WFP’s innovative Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative utilises WFP’s purchasing power to help connect farmers to markets and enhance agricultural production. In Guatemala, this meant that 48 women from a farmers’ organisation were empowered to sell directly to WFP, rather than through a middle man, and to dry and clean their maize themselves rather than through a local mill. This enabled the women to achieve a better price for better quality produce.

BANGLADESH – WFP is working closely with the Government of Bangladesh to build community resilience to natural disasters. Climate change adaptation strategies have already resulted in 30,000 homesteads being raised above flood levels, and 1.6 million women being trained in disaster preparedness. This partnership has spanned 30 years, during which time 26,000 km of raised rural roads have been built keeping millions of people linked with markets during floods, and 17,000 km of river and coastal embankments constructed/rehabilitated, protecting agricultural land from salt water intrusion, siltation and erosion.

PHILIPPINES – WFP, through the EU-funded Food Facility, is working closely with the Government of the Philippines in implementing Food for Asset (FFA) programmes in the conflict-affected areas of Central Mindanao. Under the FFA programme, food assistance is provided through community-managed livelihood activities focused on early recovery in the internally displaced persons (IDPs) return areas. Such livelihood support activities—rehabilitation of farm-to-market roads, farmer field schools training, reconstruction of irrigation canals and the like—encourage communities to be progressively self-sufficient whilst rehabilitating important communal assets and developing relevant livelihood skills.

In the Philippines, WFP is celebrating World Food Day on Sunday, 17 October, in coordination with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and government agencies in Lanao del Sur where the community and the local government has targeted to plant a total of two (2) million fruit trees all over the province as a sign of their unity to fight against hunger and establish food security in the region.
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