WFP National Ambassador Against Hunger Calls For Sustained Efforts To Break Cycle Of Hunger In Malawi
LILONGWE - Leading Japanese model and UN World Food Programme (WFP) Ambassador Against Hunger, Kurara Chibana, has said she was impressed to see communities affected by last year’s floods and more recently by drought working hard to recover their livelihoods in Malawi.
The Japanese celebrity visited WFP projects in Malawi in early June seeing for herself how WFP is helping communities to build resilience to climatic shocks. Initiatives being undertaken include the creation of agricultural assets such as irrigation schemes and fish ponds. Her visit comes ahead of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in August this year which will highlight African development issues.
“Fields were completely dried up, leading to significantly reduced harvests for farmers,” she said during a trip to the south of the country. “I could really see the impact of climate change. But at a WFP-supported community that we visited, vegetables were growing beautifully. This sort of thing goes a long way to improving people’s food security and self-confidence.”
Chibana visited Jumabunguzi Farmers Organization in Salima, where WFP has constructed a new warehouse where smallholder farmers store their produce, thus reducing post-harvest losses. As part of WFP’s Purchase for Progress initiative, they also receive training in accessing markets and improving their business skills.
She also interacted with students at nearby Kapira Primary School who benefit from WFP’s Home Grown School Meals Programme. This enables smallholder farmers to supply fresh, locally-produced vegetables for use in school meals.
The visitors then proceeded to Balaka where Chibana interacted with farmers implementing resilience-building activities such as irrigation farming, drought-resistant crop production, fish farming, reforestation and compost making through partnerships including one with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency.
The visit concluded with a visit to malnourished children and mothers at Mbela Health Centre in Balaka where WFP is supporting a Supplementary Feeding Programme to treat moderate acute malnutrition. Chibana spoke with both mothers and former recipients of emergency food assistance, gaining an understanding of the challenges they face.
“Unfortunately, there is no magic solution to all the issues, but I hope to see safety net and resilience-building programmes scale up so that the most vulnerable families can take a bigger step towards a better future,” said Chibana.
Currently, Malawi faces huge food insecurity after this year’s El Niño dry spells caused over one million tons deficit in national maize production.
“To break the cycle of hunger in Malawi, we need to respond to immediate humanitarian needs and also to better address the underlying drivers of food insecurity such as climate change, gender inequality and poor nutrition,” said WFP Country Representative Coco Ushiyama. “In the long run, resilience needs to be built before, during and after a crisis. Resilience is a multiyear effort. Reducing hunger in Malawi is difficult, but doable."
The government of Japan is one of the donors for WFP’s school feeding, relief food and resilience building activities in Malawi. In January this year, Japan contributed USD5 million towards WFP work in Malawi.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
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Find real-time price monitoring and food security information from WFP’s mobile Vulnerability Analysis & Mapping (mVAM) initiative in Malawi here.
The recent Cost of Hunger in Africa (COHA) study found that Malawi loses nearly USD 600 million annually due to the effects of child under-nutrition. Read the report here.
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