Although rich in natural resources including diamonds and gold, Guinea faces major socio-economic and political challenges. Poverty and malnutrition rates are alarming, especially in rural areas, and the 2014 Ebola outbreak has made vulnerable communities even more fragile.
On average, 55 percent of the Guinean population live below the poverty line set at 8,875 GNF (or 1.25 US$) per day per person, while multidimensional poverty reached 7.5 million people throughout the country. Unemployment rates are high, particularly among youth and women, and over half of the active population is working in agriculture. According to the comprehensive Food Security and Nutrition Vulnerability Analysis (CFSVA+N) carried out in 2018, 21,8 percent of Guinean households (or 2,459,415 people), are food insecure, 2.4 percent of whom (272,585 people) severely so. In terms of nutrition, 6.1 percent of children under 5 suffer from global acute malnutrition, 24.4 percent are chronically malnourished, and 12.4 percent are underweight.
Guinea is prone to recurring natural disasters, and
there appears to be a clear relationship appears between climatic shocks and food insecurity food. Most food insecure households were exposed to natural hazards such as rain perturbations during the past year. Flooding is also common during the rainy season, affecting directly between 50,000 and 69,000 people each year. Most Guineans rely on subsistence agriculture and are not covered by any national safety net programme, which makes them particularly vulnerable to the effects of natural and other disasters, such as the Ebola epidemic.
The Ebola outbreak had a lasting impact on the country’s economy and put further pressure on a country already deeply riddled with social tensions. The risk of ethnic and political violence remains high, particularly ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections, and the relationship between the military and the civilian government is highly sensitive. Political instability in neighboring countries has also hindered cross-border trade and caused the arrival of refugees, placing further strain on the country’s resources.
The World Food Programme (WFP) has been in Guinea since 1964, providing vital assistance to vulnerable communities around the country.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Guinea
School mealsWFP has been providing hot school meals to 131,895 children in 896 schools throughout the 2018-2019 school year. The goal is to ensure food access to school-aged children, encourage enrolment and attendance. By providing nutritious, balanced meals, the programme encourages parents to send children to school. To address the gender gap in school enrollment and attendance, WFP also provides take-home rations to 12,155 girls enrolled in the last grade.
Nutrition assistanceWFP provides life-saving food supplies to vulnerable people, including children under 5, pregnant and breastfeeding women, people living with HIV/AIDS and their families, and patients undergoing treatment for tuberculosis (TB). Improved food security and nutrition prevents and reduces maternal malnutrition, mortality risk, low birth weight rates and malnutrition for children under the age of 5. It also increases the success rates of treatment for diseases such as TB and HIV.
Resilience building and support to local farmersWFP works with the Guinean government, other UN agencies and national NGOs to implement and encourage activities designed to reduce food insecurity and strengthen Guinea’s ability to respond to and disasters. To enhance the resilience of fragile communities, WFP supports communities to produce foods such as parboiled rice and fresh vegetables that can be used for school meals programmes. This increases food diversity and of the availability of healthy home-grown food in local school canteens and on local markets.
Capacity-buildingWFP supports the Ministries of Education, Health, Agriculture and Cooperation in strengthening the capacity and skills of their personnel in the management and ownership of food security and nutrition projects. WFP is working with the Government to formulate a strategy to ensure a gradual handover of food security and nutrition activities to the Government in its plan to aching Zero hunger by 2030.
Cash transfersIn partnership with six local NGOs and MTN as financial services provider, WFP is providing 195 schools with cash to purchase food (rice, vegetables and pulses), and condiments from local producers (mostly women), women parboiler associations, and traders contracted by WFP.