Rome – Josette Sheeran, the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) will begin a fact-finding visit this week to four African nations where the agency is undertaking the full spectrum of its humanitarian work ranging from emergency food assistance in Niger to distribution of cash and vouchers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and support for small farmers in its Purchase for Progress initiative in Uganda.
The visit will start in Niger, today, where Sheeran will hold meetings with government officials, and donor representatives before visiting WFP programmes assisting those affected by the drought.
“The drought in Niger is an unfolding catastrophe for millions of people and we are struggling against time to scale up quickly enough to reach the escalating number of hungry,” Sheeran said. “I want to see for myself the scale of the needs in Niger and the challenges in WFP’s huge ramp-up of hunger operations – especially those targeting vulnerable young children.”
“We are massively scaling up special nutritional help for children under two years of age in Niger, whose brains and bodies face permanent damage from acute malnutrition,” Sheeran added.
From Niger, Sheeran will travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday 21 July, where she will meet government officials in the capital, Kinshasa and undertake a joint visit to a camp for internally displaced people in eastern Congo with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres. During a visit to a camp for internally displaced people near Nyanzale on Friday 23 July, Sheeran and Guterres will speak to accompanying media.
Sheeran will then move on to Uganda on Saturday 24 July to attend events at the African Union Summit in Kampala. Sheeran will host a news conference on the fringes of the summit on the afternoon of Sunday 25 July. On Monday 26 July, the final day of her Uganda visit, Sheeran will to fly to Gulu in northern Uganda to see the impact of WFP’s Purchase for Progress initiative that helps to connect small farmers with markets.
After Uganda, Sheeran will fly to Rwanda where she will meet government officials, pay respects at a genocide memorial site, and visit watershed management site, where WFP food for work activities are helping communities to terrace eroded hillsides so that crops can be grown on the land.
Niger 20 to 21 July
DRC 21 to 24 July
Uganda 24 to 27 July
Rwanda 27 to 28 July
For Further Information:
Caroline Hurford, WFP/London, Tel. +44-20-72409001, Mob. +44-7968-008474
Emilia Casella, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41-22-9178564, Mob. +41-792857304
Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1-646-5566909, Mob. +1-646-8241112