WFP Announces New Initiative to Fight Hunger in Afghanistan

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced a new food subsidy initiative to fight hunger in poor Afghan cities.

The project, coordinated in partnership with the Afghan Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs, and Disabled (MoLSAMD), is designed to assist households in Kabul through a monthly cash voucher programme aimed at offsetting the impact high food prices have on the city’s poor.

“We are launching this project after the successful implementation of similar programmes in other Afghan cities where it has had a positive impact on household food security.” – Bradley Guerrant, WFP’s Deputy Country Director for Afghanistan

An Afghan boy at Gudham Shahar Camp in Mazari-Sharif.

UN Photo/Luke Powell

The voucher programmes were also launched in other Afghan cities, including Mazar-i-Sharif, Herat, and Jalalabad.

According to WFP, some 18,000 households – or an estimated 114,000 individuals – consisting mainly of poor women and households headed by people with disabilities will benefit from the project.

Each monthly voucher is worth $25 and can be exchanged for food items in participating local shops. The new voucher project, to which the UN agency will contribute $3 million over a six-month period, will function as a safety net for those urban poor who are particularly vulnerable to high food prices.

WFP has been working continuously in Afghanistan since 1963, and is active in all 34 provinces. In recent years, WFP’s focus has shifted from emergency assistance to rehabilitation and recovery.

WFP’s operation in Afghanistan has a twin focus, providing lifesaving relief and emergency aid for immediate needs, including those stemming from conflict and natural disaster and improving overall food security, in partnership with the government.

WFP has feed roughly 7.3 million needy Afghans in 2011. But it still faces significant funding shortages for this effort, and urges donors to provide the $132 million needed to continue life-saving assistance in to poor Afghans in 2012.

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