Djibouti: For Displaced Women, Food Assistance Shows They're “Not Forgotten”

During times of drought and civil conflict, women are usually on the frontlines, fighting to keep their families afloat. Helaffi and Bidari, two women now in a nomadic encampment in northern Djibouti, are typical. Thanks to support from WFP and the EU, they're managing - and the food is keeping their spirits up.

By Dato Gaas Ali

OBOCK— Helaffi and Bidari have faced huge challenges finding food for their children and shelter from conflict. They are are among the 1,150 people who received food during a recent WFP distribution at this encampment in the arid, rocky northern region of Djibouti.

In this region, prolonged drought and conflict near the Eritrean border have led to a severe food crisis.  WFP is providing urgent food assistance to the people of Djibouti., thanks to much-needed funding from the European Union.

“For the last few years, we have been forced to move from place to place in search of water and food for our livestock,” said Helaffi. “Our livelihoods are virtually non-existent and we have reached the end of our tether. This food aid is a Godsend for our children and community.”

Helaffi and her friend Bidari are among the many female-headed households who have endured long months of suffering seeking safety and sustenance for their families.

"In addition to the drought, the conflict on the border with Eritrea has forced us to flee and move our villages. This makes us more vulnerable. We don’t have enough food, and we have lost our dignity," said Bidari. "Without WFP’s food aid, what would become of us? We thank WFP and the EU for their support, it reminds us that we are not forgotten or ignored: that also feeds our hope.”

To ensure that food assistance reaches the most vulnerable groups, Food Aid Monitors meets with beneficiaries like Helaffi and Bidari on a daily basis to keep an eye on displacement across the region.  This guarantees WFP’s efficiency in delivering the right food at the right time.