Funds from the United States enable WFP to meet growing needs of DRC refugees in Zambia
"We are grateful for the generosity and continued support of the United States. This support reaffirms their commitment to ensuring the food and nutrition security of DRC refugees in Zambia,” said Jayoung Lee, WFP Deputy Country Representative in Zambia. “This funding arrives at a critical time. The influx of refugees has been steadily increasing throughout 2020, pushing up the need for food and nutrition assistance.”
Through the provision of cash-based transfers, this contribution from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will allow refugees to buy different types of food from the local markets and to choose what they wish to eat. In addition to supporting a more diverse diet, the cash assistance will also help stimulate local markets and foster peaceful coexistence between the refugees and host community.
"This funding is a way for the United States to help these DRC refugees meet their food security needs in a dignified manner,” said USAID/Zambia Mission Director Sheryl Stumbras. “This assistance and our partnership with WFP will also enable local businesses to promote a more sustainable path forward for Mantapala and its surrounding communities."
WFP started to gradually transition refugees from food to cash assistance in May 2020, reaching almost the entire population in the Mantapala settlement by January 2021. Only families headed by children, those that could not be provided with an ID or a SIM card, those temporarily absent from the settlement, and people staying at the transit centres continue to receive food. Each refugee receives approximately US$9 (ZMW187) per month, equivalent to the value of the in-kind food assistance, which can be spent on food and other essential goods.
WFP’s assistance has helped stabilize and maintain refugees’ food security in the settlement. “While WFP’s support currently remains the refugees’ main source of food, together with partners we are exploring options to support refugees’ livelihoods and their self-reliance beyond food assistance to help further improve their access to more diverse foods,” Ms. Lee said.
The U.S. government has been supporting WFP’s refugee operations in Zambia since 2018, when the Mantapala Refugee Settlement was established by the Government of Zambia following the large refugee influx from DRC that began in August 2017.
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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
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