Active in Ecuador since 1964, WFP has proven expertise in supporting the livelihoods of the most vulnerable populations, managing emergencies, empowering women, protecting the environment and developing national and local systems and capacities in food assistance programmes. It has supported direct food interventions, including school feeding, assistance for production systems, reforestation and nutrition programmes. WFP’s goal in Ecuador is to be an innovative partner, support government policies and priorities, contribute to food sovereignty, food and nutrition security of vulnerable people, and gender equality.
Ecuador is a country of great social, cultural and geographical diversity. However, the persistence of poverty and malnutrition disproportionally affect young children, women and indigenous populations despite being classified as a “lower middle income country".
The latest national survey reports that 23.2 percent of children under 5 years of age suffer from chronic malnutrition. The Ecuadorian Government has set a national priority to eradicate malnutrition in children under 2 by 2017.
Ecuador continues to be affected by the negative spillover effects of the prolonged armed conflict in Colombia, putting pressure on social services, programs and cohesion. In 2011, Ecuador hosted the seventh largest number of refugees in the world and the largest in Latin America.
Ecuador is especially prone to natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, droughts and volcanic eruptions. The effects of climate change are making their mark, with the retreat of glaciers and the decrease in water availability and food and nutrition security.
Increasingly, WFP assistance in Ecuador is provided through electronic cards that give programme participants access to nutritious, locally produced produce and products in pre-selected sales points. Purchases made with WFP cards are contingent on attendance of monthly nutrition education trainings
Anaemia affects 62 percent of Ecuadorian children between 6 months and 1 year of age. WFP nutrition trainings promote breastfeeding, complementary feeding and aim at changing family eating habits to improve dietary diversity.