FAQs


1- What is WFP?
The World Food Programme (WFP) is the United Nations frontline agency mandated to combat global hunger, which afflicts one out of every seven people on earth.

2- How does WFP fight hunger?
In emergencies, WFP is on the frontline, delivering food to save the lives of victims of war, civil conflict and natural disasters. After the cause of an emergency has passed, WFP uses food to help communities rebuild their shattered lives.

3- What is WFP's vision?
The vision of WFP is a world in which every man, woman and child has access at all times to the food needed for an active and healthy life. Without food, there can be no sustainable peace, no democracy and no development.

4- When was WFP founded?
In November / December 1961, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN General Assembly adopted parallel resolutions establishing WFP.
The three-year experimental programme was not due to enter into operation until January 1963. In reality it was up and running several months early, as an earthquake hit Iran, a hurricane swept through Thailand and newly independent Algeria was overwhelmed by five million returning refugees. Food assistance was needed urgently and WFP was tasked to supply it

5 - How many people work at WFP?
WFP employs roughly *12,000 staff, of whom 90 percent worked in the field delivering food and monitoring its use.

*excludes temporary contracts of 11 months or less as those for short-term international professionals, consultants, short-term general service, special service agreements, interns, author's contract, fellowship, WFP volunteers and casual labourers.

6 - Where is WFP's headquarters located?
Ever since its foundation in 1963 and thanks to the generosity of the Italian government, WFP headquarters has been based in Rome, Italy.

7 - Who pays for WFP and its food assistance?
WFP relies entirely on voluntary contributions to run its humanitarian and development projects. Contributions are made either as cash, food or the basic items necessary to grow, store and cook food. None of the people who ate WFP food last year could have done so without the generosity of our donors.
Governments are WFP's principal source of funds, but increasingly businesses and individuals are also making a vital contribution to WFP's mission. In an average year, more than 60 governments voluntarily provide funds for the humanitarian and development work of WFP.

8 - Where does WFP work and who benefits?
WFP fights hunger in least-developed and low-income countries where victims of natural disasters, refugees, displaced people and the hungry poor face severe food shortages. The frontline stretches from sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East to Latin America and Asia Pacific. See the list of countries where we provide food assistance.

OPERATIONS

9 - How does WFP get food to the hungry poor?
WFP transports more food than any other international organisation. Moving food assistance, a bulk commodity, thousands of miles at a moment's notice, often into some of the world's most inhospitable places, is a skill which WFP has turned into a fine art.
Ocean transport forms the backbone of WFP's transportation system, with some 90 percent of its food moved by ship. But as complex as shipping arrangements can be, that's just the easy part. The hard bit lies in getting the food from the ships to the people who need it.
To achieve this, WFP's transport officers stretch a logistical lifeline across deserts, mountains and rivers deep into the heart of the world's poorest countries.
If there are no roads or bridges, WFP builds them. Where there's no landing space for aircraft, it arranges an airdrop. The Programme even rehabilitates entire ports and railways. Once the supply line is secure, WFP brings in its emergency food supplies via wing, wheel and wagon.
It uses whatever means are available: ships, barges, dug-out canoes; trucks and trains; planes, helicopters and air drops; even the backs of donkeys, yaks and elephants.

PARTNERS

10- How does WFP's work differ from that of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)?
Food security and agricultural development are major challenges facing the world today. The Rome-based agencies of the United Nations work together to meet them. The agencies have specific and complementary roles.

WFP’s key mission is to deliver food into the hands of the hungry poor. The agency steps in during emergencies and uses food to aid recovery after emergencies. Our longer term approaches to hunger help the transition from recovery to development.

FAO is the world’s agricultural knowledge agency, providing policy and technical assistance to developing countries to promote food security, nutrition and sustainable agricultural production, particularly in rural areas. FAO also acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy.
IFAD, with its knowledge of rural poverty and exclusive focus on poor rural people, designs and implements programmes to help those people access the assets, services and opportunities they need to overcome poverty.
The Rome-based agencies have many joint operational activities at the regional, country and local level.

11- How does WFP distribute its food?
WFP works with about 3,000 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to distribute its food. The grassroots and technical knowledge of these NGOs is invaluable when it comes to assessing how to deliver food to the right people.

WFP FOOD RATIONS

12- What is a WFP food ration?
Typical food rations in situations where no other food is available consist of more than half a kilogramme of food per person per day (or 2,100 kilocalories). This amounts to 15 kilogrammes in food rations for one month, or 182.5 kilogrammes for a year.
If you're trying to feed 100,000 hungry people, a relatively small caseload in an emergency situation, you need about 57 truckloads of food to feed them for just one month.

13- What do the rations consist of?
The rations themselves can consist of:

  • Cereals - wheat, maize, sorghum, rice
  • Pulses - beans, peas
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Cereal blends
  • High Energy biscuits
  • Bread

14 - What does WFP do to promote development?

WFP's development activities aim to make communities food secure, so that they can devote time, attention and energy to escaping the poverty trap.
Food-for-Assets projects give community members food in return for work on roads, schools, wells or irrigation systems. Food may also support them as they start small businesses or replant degraded forests.
Under its school feeding projects, WFP provides free lunches that attract children to school and give them the energy to study.
Food also encourages pregnant mothers and pre-school children to visit health care clinics.