Business and Economy

Japan partners with WFP to tackle hunger and malnutrition among vulnerable communities in Burkina Faso

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a contribution of US$7 million from Japan to alleviate the suffering of vulnerable populations in a country hard-hit by the combined effects of insecurity, recurrent climate shocks, rising food prices, and the socio-economic impacts of the global pandemic (COVID-19).

The funds will allow WFP to provide lifesaving food and nutrition assistance to nearly 370,400 affected people who are Internally Displaced Persons (IDP)’s and host families, pregnant or breastfeeding women, children and rural households experiencing food insecurity. WFP will aim to provide food and nutrition assistance on a monthly basis during the upcoming lean season, a critical period between planting and harvesting (June to August).

Burkina Faso is facing one of the world’s fastest-growing displacement crisis and increasing humanitarian needs as vulnerable families who represent 10 percent of the population — over 2 million people — have currently a very limited capacity to cover their overall food and nutritional needs. To date, 2.9 million are expected to face a stage of crisis during the lean season. The malnutrition situation has substantially deteriorated among children (under five years old) pregnant or breastfeeding women. The number of children suffering from malnutrition is likely to reach an alarming level during the lean season and as health centres in certain areas are expected to close or provide minimum services due to rising insecurity.

“Japan’s contribution is a way to strengthen its support to the vulnerable people of Burkina Faso who are facing many complex challenges,” said His Excellency Kato Masaaki, Ambassador of Japan to Burkina Faso. “With WFP on the ground, we will pursue the efforts required so that families become more resilient and self-reliant to live an eventual decent life.”

“The humanitarian crisis is intensifying in Burkina Faso where families are affected by the triple threat of Conflict, Climate change and COVID-19” and urgent support is needed now more than ever,” said Antoine Renard, WFP Representative and Country Director in Burkina Faso. “We are grateful for Japan’s renewed support. It is crucial to save lives now as the ‘emergency within an emergency’, marked by the lean season is at the doorstep to strike people in need.”

The Government of Japan and WFP aim to tackle rising food insecurity through immediate humanitarian assistance and development initiatives to enable affected communities to cope with recurrent shocks. Agricultural activities will be carried out to improve sustainable food systems and to maintain the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.  In doing so, the availability of quality food will be enhanced as farmers will have improved production means, capacity and access to local markets. With education becoming more challenging in areas affected due to insecurity, Japan’s contribution will also support WFP’s school feeding initiatives to help improve access to education through the provision of school meals, thus providing additional support to vulnerable families in time of crisis.

The Government of Japan has contributed a total of USD 17.7 million for WFP’s operations in Burkina Faso since 2018.

WFP in Burkina Faso continues to ramp up assistance. WFP plans to assist 2.5 million people in the country this year. While urgent humanitarian assistance is vital to mitigate a severe deterioration in food security and nutrition and, ultimately, prevent loss of life, WFP recognizes that long-term and systemic action is necessary.

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