Germany helps WFP avert suspension of food assistance to Palestinian families
JERUSALEM – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed a timely EUR5 million (USD5.2 million) contribution from the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) that helped avert planned cuts in critical food assistance for 180,000 of the most vulnerable and food-insecure Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in December 2022.
The contribution will help WFP provide a monthly cash-based transfer in the form of electronic food vouchers to 305,000 of the most food-insecure Palestinians. Families will be able to buy nutritious food items, including fresh dairy products, eggs, vegetables, and meat at 308 local retailers.
“I am honoured to announce that Germany is able to increase its longstanding support for WFP which plays a central role in providing critical food assistance for those in need, globally and also in the Palestinian Territories facing multiple challenges,” said Head of the German Representative Office, Oliver Owcza. “Germany will remain a strong and reliable supporter for Palestinians in need.”
Soaring food prices and worsening unemployment rates are contributing to the deterioration of food security of Palestinians, who continue to face longstanding hardship and instability. For many families already struggling to recover from the dire impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing Ukraine crisis has had devastating consequences for livelihoods and access to basic needs, including food. Currently, 36 percent of the Palestinian population is food insecure – in Gaza, the percentage has risen to two thirds of the population.
“The German contribution comes in an exceptionally difficult time where needs are increasing, and funds are limited. The triple effect of the Ukraine crisis, the slow economic recovery from COVID-19, and the ongoing rise in food prices is limiting Palestinians’ purchasing power. Many Palestinian households, particularly in the Gaza strip depend on different forms of assistance that WFP provides,” said WFP Palestine Country Director Samer Abdeljaber. “As national assistance programmes are facing increasing challenges, WFP’s food and cash assistance provides a critical lifeline to vulnerable families to prevent them from sinking further into poverty and food insecurity.”
Cash-based transfers are a crucial social safety net and allow people greater freedom of choice a sense of control over their lives, and dignity. In Palestine, cash transfers are designed to promote economic empowerment for women by providing female breadwinners with access to payments and supporting them as decision-makers in their families. Ultimately, these payments help both women and men to better cope with shocks, build their financial resilience and invest in their futures. Beyond empowering individuals, cash transfers also have positive spill-over effects on the local economy, injecting cash and contributing to the expansion of local businesses.
Germany is second biggest donor to WFP globally and is WFP’s top donor in Palestine with contributions totalling more than EUR 56.5 million (USD60 million) since 2018, through the GFFO and the German Development Ministry (BMZ). Thanks to Germany and other donors, WFP could maintain its food and cash assistance despite growing humanitarian needs and stretched global resources, reaching more than 375,000 food-insecure non-refugees across the West Bank and Gaza Strip who depend fully on assistance to meet basic food and nutrition needs.