Disaster Risk Reduction: How WFP Fits In

Natural disasters are a leading cause of hunger. Not only do they cut off families' access to food in the short term, they can also affect a community's ability to fend off hunger in the long term. That's why, as part of its mission to fight hunger worldwide, an important part of WFP's work involves finding ways to reduce the risks associated with natural disasters.

ROME— The theme of International Day of Disaster Reduction this year is “Women and Girls – the [in]Visible Force of Resilience”. It's an idea that resonates powerfully with WFP and reflects our conviction that investing in women is one of the most effective ways of preventing hunger, both in the long and short term.

In 2011, half of WFP’s programmes included elements designed to reduce risks from disasters and help food insecure communities to adapt to the effects of a changing climate.

Women are at the forefront of many of these programmes. But they are not just recipients of food assistance. They are also the agents of change, the people who are helping their communities become more resistant to the shocks inflicted by natural disasters.

Here are three of WFP’s disaster risk reduction activities:


woman smilingThe R4 Rural Resilience Initiative, launched by WFP and Oxfam America and supported by Swiss Re, the Rockefeller Foundation and USAID, helps poor farmers to build their resilience to natural disasters and climate-related shocks. R4 combines community disaster risk reduction, such as soil conservation activities, with opportunities to take advantage of micro-insurance, credit and savings schemes. With these tools, the rural poor can grow and protect their crops and livelihoods and increase their food and income security. Find out more

kenyan woman picking fruitIn Kathemboni, Kenya, smallholder farmers work hard to build their resilience to climate risks, particularly drought, by building up local irrigation infrastructure. The projects, which are owned by the local community and supported by the Government of Kenya, WFP and the local Catholic Diocese, empower communities to boost their yields and grow higher-quality food. The farmers, many of whom are women, receive cash or food in return for their work, as well as basic farming tools. Watch the video | Find out more

ethiopian girls putting food in their sacksEthiopia’s MERET programme (Managing Environmental Resources to Enable Transitions to More Sustainable Livelihoods) helps chronically food-insecure communities improve their lives and livelihoods through activities that contribute to environmental rehabilitation and long-term income generation. A joint initiative of the Government of Ethiopia and WFP, MERET is designed to build resilience to various kinds of economic and environmental shocks, like high food and fuel prices and prolonged drought. Watch the video | See photos

man hoeing a gardenDisaster Risk Reduction

Natural disasters are a leading cause of hunger and affect all dimensions of food security including access to food, availability and stability of supplies, and nutrition. Find out more