WFP’s Cash and Food Assistance Programs

WFP’s Cash and Food Assistance Programs
The World Food Programme (WFP) implements cash and food assistance programs that give individuals at risk of falling into poverty money and food to support themselves. The WFP’s cash and food assistance programs’ main goals are to reduce poverty, alleviate food insecurity and boost economic development.

Assisting the DRC

A successful example is the WFP’s cash assistance program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where 26 million people are at risk of facing acute hunger as of May 2022. An article published on May 17, 2022, states that the WFP considers the DRC its “biggest emergency” because conflict and the pandemic compound the nation’s circumstances of poverty.

Benefiting about 100,000 of the most impoverished people in the N’sele municipality, the WFP’s social protection and cash assistance program has occurred in partnership with UNICEF. The cash assistance equates to about $40 a month for beneficiaries to sustain their livelihoods and afford food, which became expensive as a result of the Ukraine-Russia war.

Community members attest that the cash assistance program in the DRC has helped improve the lives of many people. The WFP’s recent success with the cash assistance program in the DRC stands as proof that continuous international financial support for the WFP is necessary to help the developing world tackle poverty.

In recent years, the WFP has been experiencing “funding shortfalls” due to the pandemic’s impact on member states’ abilities to donate. This negatively affected WFP’s ability to reduce poverty further in developing or war-torn countries around the world. Thus, increased financial contribution to the WFP can lead to economic recovery in developing countries.

How Funding Shortfalls are Impacting WFP’s Goals

Although the reduced funding negatively impacted WFP’s cash and food assistance programs, it hurt refugees and vulnerable communities more. For example, in 2021, the WFP had to consider cutting down on food rations for refugees in Cameroon as a result of insufficient funding, potentially impacting 70,000 Nigerians and 100,000 Central African Republic refugees.

In Jordan, the WFP could no longer provide food aid to about 263,000 Syrian refugees by the close of August 2021. In Tanzania, the WFP’s refugee support program had to implement “ration cuts of up to 32[%] of the minimum calorie requirement since December 2020” due to funding inadequacies.

This highlights the necessity of continued funding of the WFP to help developing countries reduce poverty and boost their economies.

WFP Tackles Poverty Despite Funding Issues

Despite its recent financial setbacks, the WFP is still the world leader in tackling food insecurity and poverty. Ukraine stood as the breadbasket of the world until the Russian invasion in February 2022, prompting a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

However, the WFP’s cash and food assistance programs managed to mitigate the impacts of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. For example, in May 2022, the WFP managed to give 1 million Ukrainians cash to support themselves amid the crisis and “injected nearly US$74 million into the Ukrainian economy.” Furthermore, the WFP is delivering essential foods, such as rice and pasta, to approximately 420,000 people a month.

Countries Financially Supporting the WFP

There are still countries around the world that acknowledge the crucial role of the WFP’s cash and food assistance programs in reducing poverty. On May 19, 2022, the United States Congress passed H.R. 7691, which authorizes the government to spend $5 million on humanitarian assistance in Ukraine. This funding authorization will help the WFP “provide life-saving assistance to millions of people around the world.”

On May 30, 2022, the European Union donated €5 million to the WFP so it can deliver food to 1.6 million food-insecure individuals in Burkina Faso.

Looking Ahead

The World Food Programme still stands as the leading global humanitarian organization that saves millions of lives daily, which is why it won the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize. However, the WFP still needs continuous international support through increased financial contributions from the international community.

Global citizens and anti-poverty advocates must continue to push their governments and representatives to donate more to the WFP to address the impacts of funding shortfalls on the world’s most disadvantaged people.

– Abdullah Dowaihy
Photo: Flickr