State of Palestine
Current issues and what the World Food Programme is doing
Active in Palestine since 1991, the World Food Programme (WFP) works in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza to meet the food needs and early recovery of the most vulnerable non-refugee populations. WFP activities focus on assisting people whose ability to buy food has been hampered by poverty brought about by conflict surrounding the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Though food is readily available in Palestine, prices are often too high for poor families to afford. WFP also works to enhance their resilience and coping mechanisms, and supports the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) national safety net by strengthening the Government’s capacity.
What are the current issues in Palestine?
Some 27 percent of the country’s population of 4.4 million people are food insecure. In Gaza, food insecurity levels are at 47 percent, while in the West Bank, 16 percent of local people face this problem. As poor and vulnerable Palestinians spend well over half of their income on food, WFP’s assistance is critical to meeting their food needs to prevent further deterioration in food security.
Severe restrictions placed on people’s livelihoods and movements, along with recurrent conflict, have meant that everyday lives have been severely disrupted, resulting in high levels of poverty and limiting poor households’ access to adequate and nutritious food. WFP’s food assistance allows these households to spend their scarce resources on other basic services such as health and education.
On-going conflict has brought severe economic disruption in Palestine, particularly in Gaza. In the first quarter of 2015, nearly one in five people in the West Bank were unemployed, while unemployment levels reached 42 percent in Gaza – among the highest in the world.
What is the World Food Programme doing in Palestine?
WFP aims to help about 600,000 non-refugees - mainly through in-kind food distribution schemes, electronic vouchers, school meals and nutrition awareness sessions.
WFP assists more than 180,000 people through e-vouchers. Households receive a debit card they can use at local shops to purchase nutritious and locally produced food including dairy, eggs, bread, pulses and vegetable oil. During the 2014 Gaza conflict, WFP and its partner Oxfam were able to rapidly scale-up emergency and recovery assistance through vouchers – reaching 300,000 affected people from earlier levels of 60,000 people, and with 95 percent redemption rate.
WFP innovative e-vouchers serve as a multi-sectoral platform for partnerships and service provision in Palestine. Assisted people use WFP’s One Card to receive food and non-food assistance.
Working with partners to provide other assistance
Working with UNICEF, WFP has provided water and sanitation assistance for affected people in Gaza as well as education support including school uniforms, shoes and stationary for students. Meanwhile, with partner Oxfam, WFP has provided hygiene kit assistance to vulnerable Gazan households.
With NGO partner HelpAge, WFP has provided support for the elderly and for those with health issues; and hygiene and sanitation support to conflict-affected people in Gaza with the NGO partner Médecins du Monde.
Nutrition Awareness and Gender Empowerment
To strengthen the nutritional impact of its voucher programme, WFP runs a nutrition awareness campaign for 2,000 women and 1,000 men receiving vouchers in Gaza. Interactive sessions have strengthened women’s self-image as decision-makers and promoted the importance of healthy eating.
Strengthening analysis and response
WFP co-leads the Food Security Sector (FSS) with partners UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The FSS strengthens food security analysis and response and links humanitarian and developmental interventions for the Palestinian Authority. More than 40 organizations participate in the FSS.
Promoting economic recovery
Over the past five years, WFP has injected more than US$180 million into the local economy, including US$110 million through e-vouchers and the remainder through food purchases from local suppliers. This supports the local production and reinforces the Palestinian economy. WFP voucher activities support 245 local stores in the West Bank and Gaza. Every voucher dollar generates 40 cents of additional sales at participating shops and every participating shop employs, on average, one additional worker because of the voucher programme. As well, 65 percent of participating dairy producers reported increased sales thanks to the programme.
World Food Programme partners in Palestine
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