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Food Assistance to Refugees in Malawi

Operation ID: 200460

This operation has been modified as per budget revision 6.

Malawi has been hosting refugees for over two decades. This is mainly due to political instability and social unrest in the Great Lakes and the Horn of Africa regions. Prolonged conflicts in countries from these regions have resulted in a continued flow of refugees into the country.

Through protracted relief and recovery operation 200460, WFP plans to continue to provide assistance to an estimated 23,400 camp-based refugees mainly from Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Somalia. In addition, host communities will be targeted with food assistance for assets during the lean season between October and March.

According to the 2012 Joint Assessment Mission conducted by the Office of the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees, WFP and the Government of Malawi, WFP-supplied food represents, on average, as much as 75 percent of food consumed by refugees, confirming that most refugees are heavily reliant on external food assistance. Government restrictions on freedom of movement, local integration and wage-earning opportunities have a negative impact on the refugees’ ability to become self-reliant.

In 2012, the Office of the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees and WFP carried out a feasibility study on cash and voucher-based assistance. The study found that due to a lack of structured market activities to support cash or voucher-based assistance programmes, in-kind food assistance remains the only suitable transfer modality for the refugee programme.

The operation will therefore continue provision of food assistance to refugees through general food distributions in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp and at the Karonga Transit Shelter, while introducing specialized nutrition products to address micronutrient deficiencies.

The operation will also seek to address massive deforestation around Dzaleka Camp due to excessive cooking fuel demands of the camp population.