Lilianne Ploumen, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation (white headscarf), speaks with community representatives at a refugee camp in Kabul. Photo: WFP/Julie Martinez
The Netherlands have long been a strong supporter of WFP’s work globally, and a new donation in Afghanistan will enable WFP to support more than 250,000 Afghans with food rations as they prepare for natural disasters.
A contribution of US$ 10 million from the Kingdom of the Netherlands will enable WFP to support more than 250,000 people with food assistance, while helping them build more food secure lives for themselves in parts of Afghanistan affected by recurring natural disasters.
WFP will use the donation for “Food-for-Asset” activities – small-scale infrastructure projects such as check dams or tree planting, which help to build food security and disaster resilience. These projects are identified and executed by communities, with technical guidance and material support from WFP and its partners.
The donation was formalized with a signing ceremony in Kabul between HE Cees Roels, Acting Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Louis Imbleau, WFP Afghanistan Country Director and Representative. “This generous contribution will make a very real impact in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Afghans,” said Imbleau. “Firstly, with the food that WFP will be able to provide directly to families to help with immediate hunger needs. And secondly, by helping communities build resilience to natural disasters, which are a frequent occurrence in Afghanistan.”
An example of the kind of asset creation for disaster resilience that WFP supports is a watershed management project in Khulm, northern Afghanistan. Year after year, villages were being flooded as springtime snowmelt swept down from the mountains. WFP, together with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and local authorities, set up a programme where villagers would be provided with food and technical guidance in order to create a system to bring the water under control. Trees were planted and check dams were built, providing employment to dozens of households. Now, several years after the start of the project, the villages no longer suffer flooding.
Shortly after the donation was formalised, WFP hosted the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen, on a short field visit to Hotele Gule Sorkh, one of more than 60 informal settlements in Kabul. The settlement is home to some 92 families originally from Kabul and Laghman provinces. WFP provided residents of this and many other camps with food during the winter months.
Photo: Louis Imbleau (left), WFP Afghanistan Country Director and Representative, and Cees Roels, Acting Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, formalize a donation of US$10 million to assist vulnerable Afghans. Photo: WFP/David Matern