The United Nations agency, World Food Programme (WFP), says it has so far spearheaded a N$3 million project that ended in August this year by providing emergency food and nutrition assistance to vulnerable communities in Namibia.
The entire project, which started eight months ago, mainly targeted and benefited women and children.
The regions that benefited from the food project include Omusati, Oshana, Kavango West and East, Kunene, Oshikoto, Zambezi and Omaheke.
WFP country representative George Fedha announced this during a courtesy call on President Hage Geingob at State House yesterday.
The agency is still expected to visit Hardap and //Karas regions to scale up to reach more vulnerable people in the country. Fedha said the food, procured with the N$3 million, came from various donors, while WFP bought the food from local farmers to feed vulnerable communities.
“The first step of WFP is to help those who can’t move and don’t have a meal a day. Once we stabilise those families, then we look at longer-term programmes. We develop plans, we go to the regions and then go to the donors to say here is the plan and the budget. The government is very committed to helping to address the longer terms,” Fedha noted.
Furthermore, he said, WFP works closely with the agriculture officials in the region to help address issues of vulnerability, food insecurity in the households and support small-scale farmers.
President Geingob applauded WFP for feeding the vulnerable people around the world.
“Hunger is a thing one cannot tolerate. Hunger is caused by poverty when you don’t have enough food,” he said.
Geingob highlighted that despite the economic downturn, Namibia faced challenges of consecutive drought and now Covid-19 pandemic, which has negatively affected livelihoods.
However, he said, Namibia is determined to fight hunger and poverty despite all these challenges.
He said government initiatives such as the school feeding programme has the potential to relieve hunger for orphans and vulnerable children, thereby improving their nutrition.
Equally, Geingob also cited the Divundu Rehabilitation Centre, which runs a prison farm that has over the years earned a reputation of being successful in food production – providing for prisoners and helping in the government’s drought relief programmes.
With an estimated 27.4 million, people in southern Africa are faced with food insecurity; WFP has expanded its operations to respond to the challenge caused by poor harvests across the region.
During 2018 and 2019, Fedha announced that WFP has assisted 400 000 vulnerable communities, especially women and children, in Southern Africa, who have been hard hit by drought, as well as those living with HIV/AIDS.
WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.