UN World Food Programme

New Partnership Helps Combat Growing Hunger In Africa

WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran and Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University

Copyright: WFP/Alejandro Lopez Chicheri

The Millennium Villages project, which aims to demonstrate that the Millennium Development Goals can be met with the right interventions, will work closely with WFP in Africa to show that decisive cuts in hunger and undernutrition are well within reach.

UNITED NATIONS – Highlighting the urgent need for partnerships addressing the growing challenge of hunger, WFP and the Millennium Villages project have announced plans to expand joint action to cut hunger and malnutrition across Africa. Read news release

“The hungry and malnourished cannot wait,” said WFP’s Executive Director Josette Sheeran at a press conference at the United Nations in New York.

“We must act now to build the partnerships and take the comprehensive steps necessary to win this fight. No one organization can do it alone, and we will leverage a growing collaboration with the Millennium Villages project to deliver powerful solutions to malnutrition.”

Hunger-free zones

The two partners will work to establish “undernourishment-free zones” in Millennium Villages and ensure the poorest people have access to sufficient, nutritious food. Currently, there are 80 Millennium Villages in 10 countries.

The Millennium Villages Project works with poor rural communities to apply policies and interventions that have been proven to work. Approaches are recommended by the UN Millennium Project and fine-tuned according to on-the-ground knowledge and experience.

"Hunger stands at the core of extreme poverty," said Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General.

“The Millennium Villages will carry out the exciting interventions pioneered by WFP, and demonstrate that hunger and under-nutrition can be cut decisively through proven measures in agriculture, school meals, nutritional supplementation, food-for-work programs to build infrastructure, and other powerful WFP tools," he continued.

"We are now, with the Millennium Villages, feeding 80,000 schoolchildren, filling the cup with local produce, and working to help communities be self-sufficient"

Josette Sheeran, in a speech at Millennium Promise event hosted by Jeffrey Sachs on September 21 in New York.

Meet nutritional needs

The new partnership aims to ensure universal school meal coverage for children in primary schools within Millennium Village clusters, to find the best way of meeting the nutritional needs of children affected by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other pandemics, and to help smallholder farmers to boost productivity and incomes.

At present one in six people worldwide do not have enough to eat. Global recession and continued high commodity prices across much of the developing world increasingly have put food beyond the reach of the poorest and most vulnerable. Climate change and weather-related disasters threaten to further spread misery and deprivation.

Hunger is the underlying cause of death for 3.5 million children worldwide every year. Africa remains the only region where undernourishment and child mortality rates have increased. Working closely governments, civil society, the UN and the private sector, the partnership will apply coordinated, science-based, emerging best-practices in nutrition and food security.