To higher ground: How the Dutch Postcode Lottery helps save lives around the world

‘This was lifesaving as most of us had lost our entire crop and had nothing to eat at home’

For 15 years, the Dutch Postcode Lottery has donated flexible funds to support the World Food Programme (WFP) where needs are greatest. This month, WFP and the Postcode Lottery are signing a five-year agreement to continue helping the most vulnerable communities around the world.

When Cyclone Idai swept across southeast Africa last year, it brought massive flooding and widespread damage to Malawi. For some, it washed almost everything away. “We took refuge on higher ground, watching our village being destroyed,” said Gladys Petro, the chief of Mateyu village. “Out of 208 houses, 135 got washed away in my village. It was a sad moment.”

Cyclone Idai didn’t just destroy homes though, it devastated livelihoods — ruining crops and killing livestock across the region. And when it hit, WFP was already responding to seven critical emergencies around the world.

Thankfully, partners like the Postcode Lottery provide WFP with flexible funding each year — flexible in that it can be used when and where needed to bridge critical funding gaps. Because of the lottery, WFP could quickly allocate US$1.35 million to its recovery operation in Malawi. “This was lifesaving as most of us had lost our entire crop and had nothing to eat at home,” said Gladys.

Gladys, the village chief of Mateyu, stands on the flood defences that her village built. Photo: WFP/ Badre Bahaji

The Dutch Postcode Lottery’s funding allowed WFP to help more than 22,000 people in Malawi with emergency food assistance and cash during its recovery phase to rebuild and improve critical infrastructure that was damaged by the floods.

“During the latest heavy rains, I am proud to say that the dyke has stopped the water from flooding our village.”

Working together with WFP, these local communities decided to build new dykes and raise more than 160,000 tree saplings, which are being planted now to protect against future flooding.

This means Gladys and her village can focus on rebuilding their lives and their community. “During the latest heavy rains, I am proud to say that the dyke has stopped the water from flooding our village,” she said. “If not for it, we could have been under water again.”

15 years of partnership

The Dutch public have supported WFP since 2004 via the Postcode Lottery, providing more than €23 million in flexible funding to help some of the most vulnerable communities in the world when they needed it the most. From Haiti and Nepal to Yemen and Zimbabwe, many WFP operations have benefitted from the Postcode Lottery’s annual contributions.

“This kind of flexible funding from partners like the Dutch Postcode Lottery can make a huge difference for vulnerable people in emergencies,” said Tim Hunter, Director of Private Sector Partnerships and Fundraising at WFP. “The Lottery is helping WFP lead the way in humanitarian response efforts around the world.”

For example, in the Central African Republic, more than US$450,000 from the Postcode Lottery and its ticketholders in 2018 funded critical logistical and telecommunications operations, improving the efficiency of humanitarian and development efforts in one of the world’s most vulnerable nations. With almost 3 million people requiring emergency humanitarian assistance in the country, flexible funding helps ensure that operations making a difference can run without interruption.

In 2017, the Postcode Lottery’s contributions were directed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Here they supported more than 1.5 million victims of armed conflict and other vulnerable people through the distribution of 37,000 metric tons of rice, lentils and high-energy biscuits. This flexible funding provided extra support to address resourcing shortfalls.

Extra project

In 2014, the Postcode Lottery awarded WFP with €2.5 million, on top of its annual contribution, for the Cooking up Change in Darfur project. This helped address risks associated with environmental degradation and conflict in Darfur, by providing women and girls with fuel-efficient stoves as an alternative to collecting firewood in unsafe areas that could lead to gender-based violence. It also provided women with training on how to manufacture briquettes, and on agricultural best practices to diversify what they can grow. The project helped 2.7 million people in the region.

The Dutch Postcode Lottery helped fund the development of thousands of safe stoves just like this one in Darfur. Photo: WFP/Ala Kheir

Looking forward

In March 2020, the Dutch Postcode Lottery provided more than €1.3 million of annual support and committed to another five years of partnership. WFP faces humanitarian crises on a global scale. This type of ongoing, flexible commitment helps ensure that we can operate, even when faced with funding gaps in complex operations, and deliver for those who need us most.

Learn more about WFP’s partnerships with the private sector



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