The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a US$21.6 million cash contribution from the Government of Japan to provide vital food and nutrition assistance to the most vulnerable people in 11 countries, with 90 percent of the contribution going to 10 African nations.
A large portion of the contribution will be used to purchase foodstuffs such as cereals and pulses to provide nutritious meals to school children and specialized nutritional products to infants under two, as well as to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
At the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI), held in Nairobi in August, Japan reaffirmed the importance of nutrition as "the very foundation of health," and is stepping up its support for the alleviation of hunger and malnutrition on the continent. WFP is an active partner of the "Initiative for Food and Nutrition Security in Africa (IFNA)," which was launched at TICAD VI by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), and is ready to accelerate collaboration with Japan in the area of nutrition.
"WFP is grateful for Japan's strong commitment to investing in food and nutrition security," said Stephen Anderson, Director of the WFP Japan Relations Office. "Ending malnutrition is the best and smartest investment. Studies have found that for every dollar invested in proven nutrition interventions, the return is US$16. This contribution will help establish the healthy growth of children, who will, in turn, contribute to the robust development of nations."
In Guinea, where the deadly Ebola outbreak exacerbated the already severe food insecurity, nearly 150,000 school children across the country will be provided with nutritious hot meals to boost nutrition and education.
In Uganda, the fund will be used to provide 30,000 children under two as well as 20,000 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers with fortified blended food. Mothers will also receive education in health, nutrition and growth monitoring, when food is distributed.
Beyond Africa, US$2.2 million will be granted to Sri Lanka to provide school meals to 160,000 food-insecure school children.
The breakdown of the contribution is as follows:
Africa: Guinea (US$3.8 million), Uganda (US$2.5 million), Liberia (US$2.3 million), Madagascar (US$2.3 million), Sierra Leone (US$1.9 million), Djibouti (US$1.4 million), Rwanda (US$1.4 million), Gambia (US$1.3 million), Guinea Bissau (US$1.3 million), Republic of Congo (US$1.2 million)
Asia: Sri Lanka (US$2.2 million)
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
Source: World Food Programme