From the Field - Pakistan

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live and work "in the field" for WFP?

Join Amjad as he takes you on a journey through Pakistan - from the most serene areas of the north to the extremely volatile regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan - and shares his experience of working "in the field."

I joined the World Food Programme in 2003 and have been working as the national public information officer for Pakistan, based in the WFP Pakistan country office in Islamabad. Since then, I've been travelling from one corner of the country to the other - from the serene areas of northern Pakistan to the extremely volatile regions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. 

Since joining WFP I have been involved in many humanitarian crises and emergency operations. From droughts to floods to earthquakes to internally displaced populations, the work has kept me busy throughout these past 8 years.

The continued security problems across many regions of Pakistan have made it difficult for the humanitarian agencies, such as WFP, to operate and help the hungry-poor of Pakistan. Despite the challenges we've faced, our strong commitment to eradicating hunger and to providing solutions to hunger to the governments has never stopped.

Recently, I went on a mission to film and photograph a WFP programme in Balochistan. The footage I collect will be turned into a small video to be shared with our donors and will show how WFP is utilizing their money in the best interest of the poor and vulnerable groups in Pakistan.

The Balochistan region is one of the most under-developed provinces in Pakistan and has its own set of dynamics when it comes to security. Abductions for ransom, targeted killing, and ethnic clashes between local groups all make this province unique from other parts of the country. The rough and rugged terrain, the absolute dry conditions, and the stressors of everyday life can be seen on the faces of the people from Balochistan.

During this field trip I visited WFP’s project started for the small farmers under the European Union funded, “Food Facility Programme.” WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are helping these farmers by providing them with quality seeds, fertilizers and wheat for their household consumption while they wait for their own crop. In Pakistan, this project has helped more than 100,000 farmers.

On the day I was there, food was distributed to more than 1,500 farmers. It was nice to interact with many of the older farmers and to hear their stories of hardship. Continued dry weather, very little rain, an extremely low ground water table and power cuts make it difficult for them to take care of their land. And, although they are not expecting a good yield from their crop this year, they felt good receiving 100 kilograms of wheat from WFP. 

Though travelling in an armored vehicle with a police escort ahead of me is something I don’t like in my own country – because I wish to move freely throughout my country, I have no option but to respect the new security measures. And at the same time I recognize the unique opportunity I’ve been given to help the people of my own country and to help spread their story throughout the world.

 

Written by Amjad Jamal, Public Information Officer, WFP Pakistan