UN World Food Programme

DPRK: Mother And Baby Health Thanks To Yummy Pancakes

Han Ok Yo and her baby, Gyong Hae, at their home.
Photo: WFP DPRK/Narangerel Chimedtseren

Han Ok Yo is the proud mother of a six-month-old baby girl. Mother and baby are doing well – thanks in part to pancakes made with WFP food.

NORTH PYONGAN PROVINCE - Ok Yo is 25 years old, and has been receiving food assistance through WFP for nine months, since the third month of her pregnancy. For pregnant women and nursing mothers in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), WFP gives out a kind of blended flour made from powdered rice and dried milk. This powder can be used in a number of ways, for example mixed with water to make porridge or sprinkled on top of cooked rice.

Ok Yo’s favourite recipe is to make pancakes. “They taste so good! When I first started receiving the flour, I felt sorry for my husband who didn’t get to eat the pancakes, so I let him taste them.” She laughs and adds: “But when Gyong Hae was born he never touched them again, because he knows it’s important for me to get the right nutrition for the baby.”

The family lives in Sinuiju City in North Pyongan Province, where Han Ok and her husband work in the local footwear factory. They live in a modest apartment and have a small kitchen garden to supplement the food they eat. “In the warm months we grow some fresh vegetables. I would love to have some small livestock, but it would be difficult to look after animals with both of us working,” she explains.

With the baby reaching an age when she can start eating other foods in addition to breast milk, WFP will soon stop providing food to Ok Yo. “I will surely miss the pancakes,” she says. “But I’m glad they’ve helped my baby grow.”

Under a partnership between WFP and the Government of DPR Korea, nutritious biscuits and Super Cereal are produced in 14 factories across the country. Due to funding shortfalls, actual food production and distributions have been greatly reduced. In the last quarter of 2013, pregnant and breastfeeding women received on average only a third of their planned food ration from WFP. WFP urgently needs USD8.3 million per month to ensure that nutrition support can continue to be provided to 1.5million children and mothers in the country.