Afghanistan, School Feeding Project, Qala-e-Qazi Middle School, Qarabagh

Afghanistan School Meals Programme is WFP’s largest. It strongly addresses gender disparity through the provision of take-home rations. Moreover, it represents a good example of evidence-based programme design as different approaches were piloted before launching the programme.

WFP helped increase girls’ enrolment and attendance rates by distributing a monthly ration of 3.7 litres of vegetable oil to girls, conditional upon a minimum attendance of 22 days per month. Oil is an appropriate food item for families: it is an important component of the local diet, with high nutritional value. This valuable commodity becomes even more essential before the winter, when prices increase significantly.

Photos: WFP/Jochebed Louis-Jean

Empowering Local Afghan Companies So WFP Can Buy LocalFresh High Energy Biscuits (HEBs) roll off a production line in Kabul, Afghanistan. WFP will distribute HEBs to about one million schoolchildren in the country this year. Most of the biscuits are imported from other countries, but WFP has started showing Afghan companies how to make them in order to buy locally, using local ingredients wherever possible.

Empowering Local Afghan Companies So WFP Can Buy Local
Fresh High Energy Biscuits (HEBs) roll off a production line in Kabul, Afghanistan. WFP will distribute HEBs to about one million schoolchildren in the country this year. Most of the biscuits are imported from other countries, but WFP has started showing Afghan companies how to make them in order to buy locally, using local ingredients wherever possible.

Gul Sha’s burkha is ragged and mended, patched in places with bright yellow yarn. The wind is cuttingly cold on this bright day in Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, but she doesn’t show that she’s feeling the cold, beyond shifting our interview gently into a sunnier patch of the walled compound she shares with four other families. She’s a widow, but another man has taken her as his second wife. She says she’s 57 years old, but she doesn’t seem sure. It doesn’t seem likely, since her children are three, ten and 18 years old. All three of them are disabled.

The huts in the compound are made of dried clay and the courtyard is deep in sticky, stinking mud. One of the kids, the middle one, whose arm is a stump, slips and wipes out face down. The grownups tut and he’s on his feet again in a moment.

Gul has been receiving vouchers from WFP for the past six months. Worth 1,250 Afs, or about $25, these vouchers can be redeemed for basic foodstuffs in the local shops. Gul tells us they bought rice, wheat, oil, beans, salt and sugar. The food made a huge difference in their lives. Gul survives by begging in the streets of Mazar. When she relies on begging alone, she explains, they save up enough money to cook a warm meal about once a fortnight. The rest of the time they eat only naan bread and drink tea. With the vouchers she was able to stretch the food enough for two cooked meals per week. 

The voucher programme was a pilot project benefitting around 3,000 families in Mazar-e-Sharif; it is due to be scaled up later this year to reach 10,000 families.

Quadratullah Mohammed lives on a muddy, windblown compound on the outskirts of Mazar-I-Sherif, northern Afghanistan. Her husband is disabled, and when he can, he goes out to beg for money to help make ends meet.
Seven months ago Quadratullah, her husband and their four sons left their home because insecurity had made it too dangerous, and made the 150 kilometre trip to Mazar.

But life has been tough. On bad days, she goes form door to door, offering her services for washing and cleaning. Sometimes, the local mosque will pitch in with some supplies.

On good days, she has been able to use vouchers from WFP which have allowed her to purchase food essentials from local shops. The project, which initially targeted 3,000 of the poorest people in Mazar, is now being expanded to reach 10,000. 
(Photo: WFP/Marcus Prior)

Quadratullah Mohammed lives on a muddy, windblown compound on the outskirts of Mazar-I-Sherif, northern Afghanistan. Her husband is disabled, and when he can, he goes out to beg for money to help make ends meet.

Seven months ago Quadratullah, her husband and their four sons left their home because insecurity had made it too dangerous, and made the 150 kilometre trip to Mazar.

But life has been tough. On bad days, she goes form door to door, offering her services for washing and cleaning. Sometimes, the local mosque will pitch in with some supplies.

On good days, she has been able to use vouchers from WFP which have allowed her to purchase food essentials from local shops. The project, which initially targeted 3,000 of the poorest people in Mazar, is now being expanded to reach 10,000.

(Photo: WFP/Marcus Prior)

Crafting the start of a beautiful future - For the past nine months, 450 women in the province of Daikundi in central Afghanistan have been taking handicraft classes to learn new skills which would enable them to have their own source of income.

By providing monthly food assistance, WFP supports women empowerment initiatives such as these because we believe that Practical Skills + Income = Independence — the perfect equation for a hunger-free future in the hands of women in Afghanistan

Hungr In The News

Kenya: Famine Concerns As Dry Season Starts In JanuaryallAfrica.com

There are concerns over hunger as the country enters what is traditionally the driest season on the calendar. According to a report by the Ministry of Agriculture, although food security is improving, poor families are not off the hook yet. 

UN Launches $3M Food Program In Urban AfghanistanMedical Daily

WFP will contribute $3 million dollars towards a project to help the urban poor cope with high food prices. About 18,900 households including some 113,000 individuals, mostly poor women and households headed by the disabled will benefit from the project. 

Yum CEO Writes Book, Will Give Proceeds To Fight Hunger —Business First

David Novak, CEO and chairman of Yum! Brands Inc. shares his tips for effective leadership in “Taking People With You: The Only Way to Make Big Things Happen.” All of Novak’s proceeds from sales will be donated to WFP, in conjunction with Yum’s global hunger relief efforts.

Pepsi Tweet Explained: Street King Nabs Honickman DistributionBevnet

Pure Growth Partners’ co-founder Chris Clarke has lent some context to business partner Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s Twitter message that his company had signed a deal for Pepsi to distribute Street King energy shots. As part of the brand message, the company says it will “feed a hungry child” with a donation to WFP with the sale of every shot. 

New Food And Agriculture Organisation Chief Pledges To Prioritise AfricaThe Guardian

The new director general of FAO has indicated that Africa will be his priority at a time of limited resources. Graziano da Silva, who played an important role in Brazil’s successful “zero hunger” initiative, argued the key to improving food security in Africa was the political will to eradicate hunger.

Fighting Disrupts Humanitarian Operations In South SudanThe Guardian

UN officials estimate more than 20,000 people have fled into the bush after an outbreak of violence between two tribes in Jonglei state in South Sudan over accusations of cattle rustling. 

Red Cross: 150 Children Lose Contact With Parents While Fleeing Massive South Sudan Violence —The Washington Post

Red Cross volunteers are trying to reconnect 150 young children with their missing parents after tens of thousands of residents of South Sudan ran into the bush while fleeing a massive wave of tribe-on-tribe violence, an official said Tuesday. 

Hungr in the News

Executive Director Josette Sheeran on Preventing Famine —IMF

Droughts like the current one in east Africa may not be preventable, but famines are. The international community has the tools to prevent the “roads of death” we are witnessing in parts of Somalia. In areas where the humanitarian community has access, millions of hungry people are being reached with life-saving action. 

Afghanistan Faces Drought, HungerHuffington Post

An estimated 2.6 million Afghans are facing food shortages after one of the worst droughts to strike northern Afghanistan in a decade, according to Afghan officials and aid agencies. Already living in poverty in a country at war, many have been left destitute by the drought, which has affected 14 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces – all in the north. Hundreds of children have been treated for malnutrition. Families are selling their animals at below-market prices. 

WFP Highlights Importance of Nutrition for HIV PeopleGhana Broadcasting Corporation

WFP has stressed the need to increase the provision of food with enhanced nutrition for people living with HIV especially those undergoing Anti Retro Viral treatment. In a statement to mark World AIDS day, the Chief of Nutrition and HIV/AIDS Policy Martin Bloem, said the WFP will continue to provide the right food to vulnerable populations, to help promote good health for patients while protecting their families from the negative impacts of HIV. 

Villagers in the Koh-i-Baba mountains can travel more easily between valleys thanks to trails constructed through WFP food-for-assets projects.
A total of 40km worth of trails are being built to connect seven valleys, bringing benefits not only to villagers but also to the nascent eco-tourism industry in the area as hikers come to enjoy the beautiful mountains.

Villagers in the Koh-i-Baba mountains can travel more easily between valleys thanks to trails constructed through WFP food-for-assets projects.

A total of 40km worth of trails are being built to connect seven valleys, bringing benefits not only to villagers but also to the nascent eco-tourism industry in the area as hikers come to enjoy the beautiful mountains.

This Week In Hungr

Hunger fears as Afghan snows approach — BBC

Time is running out for more than two-and-a-half million people in drought stricken areas of Afghanistan according to international aid agencies.

Somali Refugees Flee to Ethiopia to Escape Famine, Violence — PBS

Kenyan troops have been drawn into the civil war in Somalia between the government and al-Shabab militants as desperate refugees flee to Ethiopia to escape violence and famine.

Agriculture needs massive investment to avoid hunger, scientists warn — The Guardian

Billions more investment is needed in agriculture and food distribution systems around the world in the next few years, if widespread hunger is to be avoided, according to a group of leading scientists.

Myanmar: Deforestation threatens breadbasket — IRIN

Part of Myanmar’s breadbasket in the country’s centre is fast deteriorating and the area may face greater food insecurity without immediate action, local NGOs warn.

Bangladesh government goes shopping for farmland — The Guardian

Authorities in Bangladesh are looking abroad for land to grow food to meet the country’s increasing demand and to create jobs for Bangladeshi migrants.

A woman named Khadeja and her neighbours plant apricot saplings near the town of Bamyan in the mountains of central Afghanistan.
Women like her have helped to plant over 30,000 trees in the area, which will provide both fruit to eat and sell, and protection against soil erosion.
We’re helping out by supplying these women with food for their families. It’s the kind of win-win situation that could one day put an end to hunger in this isolated part of the world.
This picture was taken by WFP’s Silke Buhr (@silkebera) who’s written a travel diary about her travels around Afghanistan which you can find here. 

A woman named Khadeja and her neighbours plant apricot saplings near the town of Bamyan in the mountains of central Afghanistan.

Women like her have helped to plant over 30,000 trees in the area, which will provide both fruit to eat and sell, and protection against soil erosion.

We’re helping out by supplying these women with food for their families. It’s the kind of win-win situation that could one day put an end to hunger in this isolated part of the world.

This picture was taken by WFP’s Silke Buhr (@silkebera) who’s written a travel diary about her travels around Afghanistan which you can find here