NIAMEY – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed in-kind and cash donations from USAID’s Food for Peace Program totalling US$40 million to support WFP’s assistance to very poor households and build community resilience to withstand recurrent shocks especially drought.
“This is a very timely and significant contribution that will enable WFP to provide urgent food assistance to the most needy. It will also sustain WFP’s efforts to build the resilience of these vulnerable people. The contribution comes just when Niger is facing several crises connected with an absence of food and displacement due to conflict in neighbouring countries; it is evidence of the robust partnership between WFP and USAID,” said Benoit Thierry, WFP Niger’s Country Director.
More than 2.5 million people are food insecure as this year’s harvest showed a cereal deficit of some 230,000 metric tons. Niger is also hosting around 150,000 refugees from Nigeria and Mali, placing additional strain on already stretched communities and services.
“Food for Peace has a long history in Niger, and is committed to supporting the government’s humanitarian efforts to save lives and alleviate hunger. This is especially important in these times of extreme hardship, as a result of the recent influxes of refugees and poor harvests,” said Dina Esposito, the Director of USAID’s Office of Food for Peace during her visit to Niger this week, when she saw first-hand the challenging situation facing communities across Niger.
WFP currently supports local communities by distributing monthly cash and food to poor families. Participants receive assistance for agricultural work including land rehabilitation, water harvesting and irrigation – all of which benefit their communities. WFP also provides nutritional support to young children under five and pregnant or breastfeeding women to fight malnutrition.
WFP is also assisting more than 60,000 Nigerian refugees with life-saving food after they have fled violence in northern Nigeria following tension along the border in Diffa region.
During the June to September lean season, WFP’s response will prioritise very poor and vulnerable households who will receive unconditional cash or food assistance together with an integrated nutrition response.
WFP’s intervention in Niger aims to respond to emergencies and build community resilience in rural areas. However, the lack of funding is a big challenge to improving livelihoods, building resilience to future shocks and breaking the cycle of chronic poverty.
The funding shortfall for 2015 is around US$200 million.
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WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 75 countries.
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For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org):
Vigno Hounkanli, WFP Niger, +227 91205585
Adel Sarkozi, WFP West Africa Regional Bureau (Senegal), +221 776375964