In the drive towards Zero Hunger by 2030, WFP’s work is as much about preventing future emergencies as it is about responding to them. As efforts continued to help communities build resilience and address root causes of food insecurity, 2018 saw added emphasis on climate preparedness, alongside exploratory research connecting food assistance to peacebuilding efforts.
Aside from conflict, nothing erodes food security as much as climate extremes. Droughts and floods, tropical storms, heatwaves: they wipe out crops, disrupt markets, destroy roads and bridges, and leave millions destitute. WFP helps communities analyse weather patterns and protect themselves from shocks. In 2018, WFP significantly expanded the number of farmers protected by microinsurance in case of crop failure. WFP is also partnering with national governments to build climate risk assessments into their planning, helping them access funds to address climate risk management priorities.
worth of insurance payouts for 30,000 farmers in 2018
more farming families (87,000) protected with insurance against climate extremes
awarded to vulnerable countries from the Green Climate Fund with WFP support
Malnutrition can cause stunting and impaired brain development and threatens the potential of the next generation. Around the world, nearly half of all child deaths are attributable to it. Linked to various non-communicable diseases, malnutrition is also a vast social and economic burden. There can be no sustainable development in communities where malnutrition rages.
WFP programmes enable people to consume diverse, nutritious diets in all contexts. And when necessary, we deliver programmes to prevent and treat malnutrition in those most at risk: young children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people living with HIV or tuberculosis. Last year we reached more vulnerable people with programmes to prevent acute malnutrition than any time over the past five years.
children reached with programmes to prevent and treat malnutrition
women reached with malnutrition treatment and prevention programmes
people in 42 countries engaged in nutrition education and counselling
With a focus in 2018 on evidence-generation, WFP contributed to a landmark study published by the World Bank which underscored the importance of the health and nutrition of school children in determining the future of a nation by developing its human capital. The study also found that more investment is needed in cost-effective programmes like school feeding, which support children in the first 8,000 days of their life. Having been seven years in the making and with more than 100 authors, this report makes the most compelling and evidence-based case for the scale-up of school feeding programmes.
WFP works with governments to establish and expand national school feeding programmes. In 2018, WFP handed over programmes in Kenya and Bhutan after a ten-year transition plan with the government. Where possible, WFP buys food locally in the programmes it supports: the home-grown school feeding model turns smallholders into school meal suppliers.
school children benefitting from nutritious WFP meals
return of a US$1 investment in school meals
(measured by education, health and productivity gains)
national governments have fully taken over school meal programmes from WFP since 1990
Smallholder farmers produce most of the world’s food, yet their livelihoods can only support meagre and unhealthy diets. Building on lessons learned from the Purchase for Progress (P4P) pilot, WFP connects farmers to markets to build sustainable food systems and create a Zero Hunger world. WFP’s range of activities span the entire food system: they provide smallholders with an entry point to formal markets, enhance food production and reduce losses, and improve the environment in which smallholders operate. In 2018, WFP reached twice as many countries with smallholder support than under the P4P pilot project.
countries where WFP connects smallholders to markets
countries where WFP purchased food directly from smallholders
worth of food bought from smallholder farmers
Food Assistance for Assets (FFA) projects boost long-term food security for the poorest while paving the way for stability and peace. The concept is simple: food-insecure people receive food or cash-based transfers to meet their immediate food needs, which frees up their time so they can work with neighbours to build or fix their communities' assets or livelihood resources. This could mean repairing a road, planting trees or restoring unproductive land. These projects provide the foundation for communities to move from food insecurity to become more self-sufficient.
hectares of land rehabilitated
feeder roads built or repaired
ponds, wells and reservoirs dug or constructed
Around a third of WFP’s assistance in 2018 came in the form of cash transfers: physical banknotes, value vouchers, e-money, mobile money or debit cards. Part of a drive to offer better value for people and donors, cash allows beneficiaries – individuals and families – to buy what they really need and boosts local production, retail and the financial sector.
While not suitable in all contexts (for example, where markets are weak and lives are on the brink), cash assistance is a significant part of WFP’s work. We are now the largest cash provider in the humanitarian community, continuing to explore ways to empower people with the choice and means to meet their essential needs through local markets.
paid out in cash transfers
cash transfer recipients
countries with cash assistance programmes
In 2018, WFP worked on building the evidence base to demonstrate how gender equality is fundamental to food security and nutrition, in order to support advocacy and integrated programming. This included a study across six countries on how cash-based transfers can contribute to gender equality; a pilot of a new tool to measure gender equality for food security developed in collaboration with FAO and Gallup; and the Gender and Age marker that now helps WFP better assess how women, men, girls and boys are assisted by WFP.
of those receiving food assistance are women and girls
women (and 1.4 million men) taking part in Food Assistance for Assets or Food for Training projects
Strong, reliable country systems and services are critical to achieving Zero Hunger in the long term. WFP’s commitment to supporting countries in owning and implementing the food security policies that best suit their contexts is increasingly at the forefront of its Country Strategic Plans (CSPs). This sees WFP transferring its own skills and knowledge to a range of public, private and civil society actors who are pivotal to sustaining national policies and programmes. As a new way of doing business for WFP, working through capacity strengthening also means WFP will need to secure more resources for the years to come; traditionally, this type of work has been affected by serious funding constraints.
CSPs commit WFP to transferring skills and knowledge to counterparts
Average amount of CSP budgets allocated to transfer of skills and knowledge
Photo credits: WFP/Saikat Mojumder. WFP/Affsheen Yousaf; WFP/Giulio d’Adamo; WFP/Tara Crossley; WFP/Marco Frattini; WFP/Rocio Franco; WFP/Santosh Shahi; WFP/Simon Pierre Diouf; WFP/Rein Skullerud; WFP/Martin Dixon; WFP/Gabriela Vivacqua; WFP/Abeer Etefa; WFP/Marwa Awad; WFP/Laura Morris.