- camps host refugees from Western Sahara
- of Sahrawi refugees are food insecure or at risk of food insecurity
- of Sahrawi refugee women between the ages of 15 and 49 suffer from anaemia
Algeria has hosted refugees from disputed Western Sahara territory since 1975, in one of the world’s most protracted refugee crises. The Sahrawi refugees live in five camps near the town of Tindouf in Western Algeria, characterized by extreme heat and very low rainfall. The harsh and isolated desert limits livelihood and economic opportunities, leaving the refugees highly dependent on humanitarian assistance.
The World Food Programme (WFP) has been supporting the most vulnerable refugees since 1986, at the request of the Government of Algeria, covering basic food and nutrition needs.
Global acute malnutrition affects almost 11 percent of children aged 6 months to 59 months. Anaemia affects more than half of children aged 6 months to 59 months, and women of reproductive age. Poor diets and lack of nutritional awareness result in problems including mineral and vitamin deficiencies and overweight/obesity in women.
The political situation remains unsolved, so refugee camps have been the only alternative for Sahrawi refugees. The status quo has fuelled frustration and disillusionment, especially among young people.
Donor support is more important than ever. WFP Algeria needs more funding to continue supporting Sahrawi refugees, especially with the sharp rise in food prices and shipping costs.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Algeria
WFP distributes almost 134,000 rations to meet the basic food and nutritional needs of food insecure refugees. The food basket includes several types of cereals, pulses, sugar, vegetable oil and blended food, distributed through 116 distribution points in all five camps.
WFP procures and distributes specialized nutritious food, as well as monthly value voucher nutrition top-ups worth approximately US$19, for 8,600 pregnant and breastfeeding women across the 5 refugee camps. This supports the prevention and management of malnutrition prevention among women and among children aged 6 to 59 months. WFP is also providing “social behaviour change” support, through interpersonal approaches including care groups, and nutrition education at community/household and health facility levels.
To encourage children to enrol in and attend school, WFP provides daily mid-morning snacks nutritious gofio porridge (made from gofio, dried skimmed milk, vitamin-enriched oil and sugar) plus high-energy biscuits to around 40,000 children in all 31 kindergartens, 26 primary schools, 10 intermediary schools, 10 special-needs centres and five koranic schools in the camps. WFP also restores and constructs school kitchens and stores.
Livelihoods and resilience
WFP also implements activities to improve Sahrawi refugees’ food security and nutrition, by providing them with livelihood opportunities in the refugee camps. The resilience approach includes activities, such the fish farm and the integrated & sustainable farming project which includes management of camel, sheep and goats. WFP is reaching 3,200 direct and 35,200 indirect beneficiaries of the resilience activities.