WFP runs three operations in the Republic of Congo: Assistance to Refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic; a School Meals programme for pupils in primary schools in four food- insecure regions; and an Urban Safety Net programme in Brazzaville and Pointe Noire for families with out-of-school children, pregnant & nursing women, and people with HIV and TB needing nutritional supplements.
A pilot project to fortify local cassava flour and palm oil was launched earlier this year to serve the school feeding programme.
In April 2013, the Urban Safety Net project, which provides electronic vouchers worth 20,000 CFA (US$40), increased its number of beneficiaries from 4,000 to 6,000 households at the demand of the Government so as to incorporate new needy households in Brazzaville and Pointe Noire. The number of households is expected to double in 2014 and will include new zones of operation. The project targets urban poor with little or no access to basic social services.
WFP’s food assistance to refugees provides monthly rations to 70,000 Congolese who fled fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In May 2012, Congolese refugees started returning home with the help of a UNHCR-organized repatriation programme. As a result, the number of DRC refugees was reduced from 115,000 in 2012 to 70,000 in 2013. In early 2013, due to the outbreak of fighting in the Central African Republic, 7,000 refugees were added to the RoC caseload. The objective of the programme is to improve food security and enhance resilience to shocks among the refugee population.
WFP targets 85,000 school children through its School Meals programme which covers some 530 schools in the four regions with the highest levels of food insecurity in the country. The programme was extended to one new area experiencing food security problems in 2013. Its main objjectives are to improve food security and school attendance, particularly for girls and indigenous pupils.
A pilot fortification project, in collaboration with two local organisations, plans to fortify cassava flour (a local staple) with micronutrients including iron. More than 67% of children under the age of five are anaemic. Palm oil, already rich in vitamin A, is to be processed in hygienic conditions for use by the school feeding programme. The pilot project targets 40 primary schools.