The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)

Why they are our hero of October

By Imogen Mellor

“Every one of the 690 million hungry people in the world today has the right to live peacefully and without hunger,” said the World Food Programme’s Executive Director David Beasley, in a statement. 

 

NMM has made the World Food Programme (WFP) our Hero of October.  

 

WFP works tirelessly to deliver food assistance in emergencies and works with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. It provides assistance in over 80 countries, helping combat food poverty. Originally formed in 1961 as an experiment, the programme became such a success that its work continued to become the well-established humanitarian organisation it is today.  

It relies on its staff to provide assistance in extremely demanding situations, such as conflicts, famines, climate change, and now, the COVID-19 pandemic. Such vulnerable people helped by WFP are often migrants and displaced communities.  

 

Earlier this year, WFP warned that there could be a “hunger pandemic” as a result of COVID-19. This is due to supply chains being severely disrupted, decreasing the amount of food, equipment and staff available to reach those in need. Many migrants and displaced people have been, and continue to be, greatly affected by the pandemic, as set out in a joint report released yesterday by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the WFP. In the press release it was noted that the pandemic has increased “food insecurity and increased vulnerability among migrants, families reliant on remittances and communities forced from their homes by conflict, violence and disasters.”  

WFP scaling up food and nutrition support to those affected by COVID-19 in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States. Photo belongs to the WFP

“The socio-economic impact of the pandemic is more devastating than the disease itself. Many people in low- and middle-income countries, who a few months ago were poor but just about getting by, now find their livelihoods have been destroyed. Remittances sent from workers abroad to their families at home have also dried up, causing immense hardship. As a result, hunger rates are sky-rocketing around the world,” said WFP Executive Director, David Beasley. The report states that in economic crises, migrants are often the first to lose their jobs, which can result in them having to return to their country of origin. Such job losses can result in a decrease in remittances, which is when a person sends money to their household in their country of origin. Remittances are, for many, a vital “lifeline”, without which they struggle to buy adequate food and necessities. Thus, migrants are at further risk due to the secondary socio-economic impact of the pandemic. 

WFP has made a point of highlighting the intersections between hunger and conflicts, climate change and of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. In the context of migration, the report released today makes clear the intersection between hunger and migrants and displaced communities. Highlighting such factors is not only important in ensuring that they provide those in need with the necessary assistance, but it also sends a signal to the global community that these factors drive hunger. By drawing such factors to light, other organisations can work towards achieving a similar goal of providing the right assistance to those in desperate need. And this has already been the case. The Norwegian Nobel Committee stated that, “World Food Programme was an active participant in the diplomatic process that culminated in May 2018 in the UN Security Council’s unanimous adoption of Resolution 2417, which for the first time explicitly addressed the link between conflict and hunger. The Security Council also underscored UN Member States’ obligation to help ensure that food assistance reaches those in need and condemned the use of starvation as a method of warfare.”  

With the support of World Vision, WFP provides 5,000 food baskets to the most vulnerable Colombian nationals and migrants in Soacha, just outside Bogotá. Photo belongs to WFP

However, WFP staff have continued to work during this difficult time, as they have done in other challenging situations since its birth.  

 

We are not the only ones recognising WFP for its amazing work. In October, it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.” We would like to congratulate WFP on this incredible achievement.  

 

 

 

If you would like to help WFP with projects please see the following links: 

 

For individuals: https://donatenow.wfp.org/wfp/~my-donation 

 

For organisations: https://www.wfp.org/private-sector