World at his feet: The ‘lost boy’ who became a humanitarian in South Sudan
Story | 13 December 2021
The World Food Programme (WFP) is proud to work with around 1,000 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) around the globe, from small grassroots groups to large international humanitarian agencies.
Without this collaboration, our efforts to bring much-needed assistance to 128.2 million people in over 120 countries would not be possible. Without the vocal support of these organizations, our efforts to put zero hunger at the top of the international agenda would be far less successful.
NGOs are at our side in many programme settings, from food distributions in emergencies to longer-term initiatives such as school meals and asset creation. In fact, three-quarters of our food and cash-based transfers are delivered together with NGOs. In partnership, we combine complementary strengths and expertise with the common goal of achieving zero hunger.
NGO partners enable us to deliver quickly and effectively, and to access areas that we would be unable to reach alone. NGOs, in particular local organizations, are often in the unique position of having a long-term presence in, and a deep contextual understanding of, the communities we work with. Their daily contact with communities before, during and after emergencies provides us with an invaluable link to the people we serve. They allow us to carry out increasingly innovative and multi-dimensional programmes.
In turn, with its vast field presence, WFP enables NGOs to expand their own reach. They can strengthen their technical knowledge and expertise by drawing on our decades-long experience in logistics, emergency preparedness, cash and voucher distribution, vulnerability mapping and nutrition programming. WFP can also provide the funding needed to scale up programmes, which NGOs may be unable to secure alone.
Supporting local and national first responders
In 2021, for the first time, WFP consulted with its local and international NGOs on the development of its Strategic Plan 2022-2025, which commits to working more deeply together. This consultation also gave NGOs the opportunity to ensure that their own strategies were aligned with those of WFP, where possible.
As a signatory of the Grand Bargain – a package of reforms to humanitarian funding launched at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 – WFP agreed to provide more support and funds to first responders, including NGOs.
The drive towards a more localized response to humanitarian needs is already reflected in WFP’s capacity strengthening activities with local and national NGOs: around 86 percent of WFP’s NGO partners are country specific. Developing their capability ensures our interventions have a long-lasting impact, by empowering communities and countries to address their own food challenges.
WFP’s Annual Partnership Consultations (APCs) have been an important date on the development calendar since 1995. They provide a unique opportunity for WFP and current and potential partners from around the globe to come together and engage in strategic discussions on burning topics, including tangible and trackable action plans to save and change lives in a more effective, efficient and innovative way. Each year, hundreds of local and international NGO partners are invited to join with their CEOs and directors of operations.
The NGO Partnerships Unit is based in WFP’s headquarters in Rome. It functions both as the focal point for NGO partners implementing WFP’s operations across the globe, and as a resource centre for WFP regional bureaux and country offices seeking guidance and good practice on NGO partnerships.
The NGO Partnerships Unit has been leading a digital transformation of the management of WFP’s cooperating partners worldwide since 2019. The goal is to digitalize each step of the partnership cycle, bringing improved efficiency, transparency and integrity and, ultimately, quality assistance to our beneficiaries.
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