HELPING TO SHAPE THEIR FUTURE
Imagine being born and raised in an unstable environment riddled with armed conflict and natural disasters. With more than three decades of war, civil unrest, and recurring natural disasters, millions of Afghans are living in severe poverty amid a crumbling infrastructure and a landscape riddled with mines. With a life expectancy of about 60 years, many people have already spent half of their lifetime fleeing from conflict or trying to recover from shocks created by natural disasters. An estimated 7.6 million people in the country do not have consistent access to food. Among them, 4.7 million are also protein deficient.
Approximately 400,000 people are seriously affected each year by natural disasters, such as droughts, floods, landslides, earthquakes and extreme weather conditions. In 2015, with the support of the Afghan government, the World Food Programme (WFP) plans to assist up to 3.4 million vulnerable people including returning refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), disabled people, school children, malnourished children under five, and pregnant women and nursing mothers. WFP assistance is provided through a range of food and non-food based programmes including general food distributions, supplementary feeding, food for work, school meals, vocational skills training and purchase for progress.
EMERGENCY RESPONSE: RESPONDING TO FOOD AND NUTRITION NEEDS
Photos by: Hukomat Khan, Challiss McDonough and Teresa Ha
WFP provides general food rations to conflict-affected people including IDPs, refugees, and returning refugees to ensure adequate food needs and to facilitate reintegration. While 60 percent of Afghans make their living from agriculture, decades of conflict and recurring natural disasters have disrupted agricultural production and have prevented the development of a sustainable and diversified livelihood system in the country. In 2015, WFP plans to feed 1.8 million people under its general food distribution programme.
ASSET CREATION: SUPPORTING RECOVERY FROM SUCCESSIVE SHOCKS
Photos by: Silke Buhr and Teresa Ha
In order to improve an Afghan community’s resilience to shocks, WFP provides food for work programmes that target food-insecure households for the construction or rehabilitation of flood protection infrastructures, irrigation systems and plant nurseries. Depending on the season and the needs and market situation of the beneficiaries, WFP also provides food or cash and vouchers to support the implementation of activities.
SUPPLEMENTARY FEEDING: TREATING MODERATE AND ACUTE MALNUTRITION
Photos by: Sven Thelin, Wahidullah Amani and Alessandro Pavone
Besides poor agricultural production, micronutrient deficiencies are widespread in the country, which results in increased malnutrition rates among the population. The 2013 national nutrition survey revealed that 40.9 percent of children under five are stunted (or short for their age), 9.5 percent are wasted (have low weight for their height) and 25 percent are underweight (having low weight for their age).
WFP provides supplementary feeding using locally produced specialised nutritional products such as high energy biscuits (HEB) and ready-to-use supplementary foods (RUSF) to address the alarmingly high levels of undernutrition in Afghanistan. This supplementary programme targets 405,900 malnourished people in 2015.
NUTRITION: ADDRESSING PROTEIN DEFICIENCIES
Photos by: Khalid Noorzad, Wahidullah Amani and Silke Buhr
To address malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, WFP is working with the Ministry of Public Health and a group of 20 commercial millers to fortify staple food products including, wheat and soy flour with vitamins (A and D) and minerals (iron and folic acid).
VOCATIONAL SKILLS TRAINING
Photos by: Silke Buhr, Habib Rahman and Wahidullah Amani
In an effort to increase the employability of Afghans, WFP offers vocational training programmes that target women and unemployed youth. Topics covered include occupational skills and techniques integrated with health and nutrition practices that, when put into practice, will encourage mothers to adopt improved feeding and care practices. In rural areas of Afghanistan, 50 percent of the workforce is underemployed. In addition, socio-cultural barriers prevent women and girls from accessing education, healthcare, and productive assets.
SCHOOL FEEDING: ENCOURAGING SCHOOLING GIRLS AND BOYS
Photos by: Diego Fernandez, Teresa Ha and Silke Buhr
WFP provides school meals targeting a selected number of public schools in order to increase enrolment and attendance rates, and narrow gender disparity in secondary schools. Take-home rations are provided to girls as an incentive for their parents to send them to school. In Afghanistan, only two-thirds of boys and less than half of girls of school age attend primary school.
SUPPORTING LOCAL FOOD PRODUCTION AND CONNECTING FARMERS TO THE MARKET
Photos by: Diego Fernandez and Djaounsede Pardon
Under its Purchase for Progress (P4P) programme, WFP supports the UN zero hunger challenge. Since 2006, WFP has been working with smallholder farmers and commercial food processors (flour producers, bakers and biscuits makers), to boost local food production, connect farmers to the market, and promote the entire food value chain through marketing of, and awareness raising about the benefits of locally produced nutritious food products. In addition to creating market opportunities for small farmers and traders, WFP development programmes also offer job and reliable income sources to vulnerable families across the country.