about the author
Martin Penner, a former journalist, has worked for WFP since 2008.
Despite the growing insecurity in Afghanistan, WFP is pushing ahead with operations that aim to feed 8.8 million people in the country in 2009.
Over the first two months of the year, WFP provided food assistance to hundreds of thousands of people through general food distributions. The beneficiaries included the victims of natural disasters and people living in urban and rural areas who have been affected by high food prices. Read about a poor family in Kabul hit hard by high food prices
Keeping kids in school
We also provide food for school feeding programmes which help keep children in school and help reduce short term hunger. In a bid to reduce the gender gap, programmes include an incentive to girl students that almost always results in higher school attendance by girls.
Other programmes aim to give poor Afghan people skills that will help them develop new livelihoods. Through a new source of income they and their families will be better able to stave off hunger in future. One woman, for example, learnt how to set up a nursery garden and to grow saplings that she can sell.
Food-for-training projects also contribute to development by facilitating adult literacy courses. Two women in Khamzargar, a village north of Kabul, took part in one such course and are enthusiastic about the possibility of being able to read signs in shops they go to.
WFP is also involved in development oriented programmes which help build and enhance assets that will help make communities more resilient to food crises in the future. These include rehabilitation of irrigation canals, ponds, water channels and feeder roads.
Naturally some of WFP's activities are at times hampered in parts of the country where there is instability caused by criminal and anti government elements. Read interview with WFP country Director Stefano Porretti
The growing insecurity has seriously restricted the movement of humanitarian staff in many parts of the country. However, WFP remains operational in most parts of Afghanistan through its five area offices, three sub-offices and through its cooperating partners.