Despite the democratic achievements of the Jasmine Revolution, Tunisia still faces significant political and socioeconomic challenges. Due to persisting structural issues and an economy that is primarily dependent on external funding sources, the country has had several governments since 2011 and is experiencing visible social tensions and a delayed economic recovery.
While hunger levels are defined as low by the Global Hunger Index, an economic recession, high unemployment rates, climate change, regional disparities and dependence on cereal imports challenge the ability of the most vulnerable people to secure an appropriate, nutritious diet.
Even with considerable progress in addressing malnutrition over the past decades, Tunisia faces overlapping nutrition problems related to mineral deficiencies, and an increasing level of obesity. Anaemia, or iron deficiency, is estimated at 30 percent for children under 5 and 32 percent for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Obesity affects 21 percent of children between the ages of 2 and 10, while 13.7 percent are overweight. Obesity and overweight are constantly increasing, reaching 50 percent of children by the age of 10.
Despite being at the forefront of legislation on women’s right in the region, female participation in the economy and in politics is substantially lower than men’s. Tunisian women, particularly those from rural areas, continue to be economically and socially excluded. Critical issues include discrimination in the labour market, wage disparities and limited access to economic resources.
The World Food Programme (WFP) provides technical support and advice to the Government in its work to strengthen social protection programmes, as a means of increasing social cohesion.
The national school meals programme is central to efforts to improve nutrition, support communities in rural areas and promote the empowerment of women. Up to 30 percent of the food served in school canteens is sourced from school gardens tended by community-based organizations, which are mainly made up of local women. In this way, WFP is improving the nutritional value of school meals while boosting local economies and women’s participation in them.
WFP also supports strengthening the resilience of smallholder farmers and the capacity of government institutions to improve the quality, flexibility, inclusivity and shock responsiveness of national social safety nets. WFP engages with the Government to improve regulatory frameworks and tools, as well as giving technical support in improving social protection services.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Tunisia
WFP’s support to the Government includes developing and upgrading guidelines, including on nutrition and hygiene, and manuals for school gardens and school canteens. We support the restoration, upgrade and equipment of school canteens, and training for cooks and school staff.
WFP strengthens the resilience of smallholder farmers in the face of climate change. We promote links between schools and local smallholder farmers’ groups – especially rural women’s community-based organizations – to promote the use of locally produced foods, contribute to job creation and enhance local economies.
Women working in agriculture are at the centre of WFP’s operation in Tunisia. WFP is advocating for gender equality and for sustainable food systems, notably in putting food security and nutrition at the centre of the national strategy for the socioeconomic empowerment of rural women. WFP also encourages the prioritization of women’s organizations in the farming of school gardens, giving them access to the school meals supply chain.
WFP contributes to strengthening the capacity of government institutions to improve the quality, flexibility, inclusivity and shock responsiveness of national social safety nets. WFP works with the Government to improve regulatory frameworks and tools, as well as give technical support in improving social protection services.
Partners and donors
Operations in Tunisia
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