TUNIS – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs have agreed to re-establish the organization’s official presence in the country and launch a two-year cash-for-work project to assist the most vulnerable Tunisians.
WFP and the government of Tunisia, in cooperation with the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), agreed to launch this month a two-year project to assist 240,000 Tunisians (or 48,000 households) through cash-for-work programmes -- mainly water and soil conservation as well as income generation projects and training schemes for farmers. WFP and FAO will cover 24,000 households each.
“This project is targeting the most vulnerable populations in the country who are now struggling to make ends meet, especially in this challenging period of transition,” said WFP Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Daly Belgasmi.
“WFP will be actively engaged in Tunisia with all national partners and according to the government priorities to help stabilize and support of the country at this critical time as it works towards democracy and social reforms. This is in line with the commitment of the G8 towards countries transitioning to democracy,” Belgasmi added.
This scheme comes in response to a request from Tunisia’s transitional government for initiatives to provide employment opportunities for young people and improve livelihoods and agricultural production in the country’s rural areas.
WFP is targeting the five governorates of Jendouba, El-Kef, Siliana, Kasserine, and Sidi-Bouzid located in the central-western area of Tunisia and among the 10 governorates the government identified as particularly disadvantaged.
WFP operated in Tunisia from 1967 to 1998, investing over US$250 million in food assistance projects. WFP returned to Tunisia in February this year as part of its response to the Libya crisis that had spilled into Tunisia. The country remains a vital supply corridor to western Libya where WFP continues to provide vital humanitarian assistance to conflict-affected families.