Top 12 Things You Didn’t Know About the World Food Programme
As the leaves start to fall and we enter the last months of 2021, we’re looking back at some of the United Nations World Food Programme’s (WFP) greatest accomplishments in 2020, including picking up the Nobel Peace Prize. We’re the world’s largest humanitarian organization — working with U.N. sister agencies, other partners and donors — to deliver lifesaving food to the planet’s most vulnerable people. If you didn’t know us before, here are a few facts about the U.N. World Food Programme that might surprise you:
1.) The U.N. World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and the world’s largest humanitarian agency, assisting over 100 million people in 84 countries.
2.) Each day The U.N. World Food Programme has up to 5,600 trucks, 30 ships and 100 planes on the move, delivering food and other assistance in some of the most remote and challenging parts of the world.
3.) The U.N. World Food Programme is the frontline agency responding to emergencies caused by conflict, climate shocks, pandemics and other disasters. We’re tackling ongoing emergencies in 20 countries or regions, the majority fueled by conflict.
4.) The U.N. World Food Programme provides school meals to 15 million children, improving both their nutrition and their access to a potentially life-changing education. Since 1990, we’ve built the capacity of national governments, with more than 40 taking over school meal programs.
5.) Contributions to the U.N. World Food Programme have increased in recent years, and in 2020 reached a record level of $8.4 billion — but there is still a $5 billion funding gap. Rising needs due to the high cost of assisting people amidst drawn-out conflicts, climate-related disasters and the coronavirus pandemic mean that we need increased financial support now more than ever.
6.) The U.N. World Food Programme connects small-scale farmers to markets in more than 40 countries. Small-scale farmers produce most of the world’s food, and in 2020 we bought $49 million dollars’ worth of food from them.
7.) Nearly 400,000 acres of land was rehabilitated and 4,450 acres of trees was planted under our Food Assistance for Assets initiative in 2020, which improves people’s long-term food security and resilience to climate change.
8.) The U.N. World Food Programme delivered 4.2 million metric tons of food in 2020, the equivalent weight of 840,000 Asian elephants.
9.) More than three quarters of the food we buy comes from developing countries, saving time and money on transport costs and helping sustain and grow local economies.
10.) We are the largest cash provider in the humanitarian community. $1.9 billion dollars of assistance was provided this way in 59 countries in 2020. Cash increases consumer choice and strengthens local markets.
11.) The U.N. World Food Programme helped 6 million people in 2020 forecast extreme climate events and trigger preventive action before vulnerable families are hit by disasters. Cash transfers ahead of floods, droughts and storms allow people in harm’s way to evacuate assets and livestock, reinforce homesteads, and buy food, seeds and emergency items so they are better prepared to deal with a food crisis.
12.) More than 50% of the people we serve are women and girls. In 2019, 60% of the participants in our Rural Resilience Initiative were women. This enabled 56,102 women across seven countries to better manage their climate risks with insurance policies that protect them from a range of risks to their livelihoods.
We will undoubtedly face enormous challenges next year as the number of severely hungry people continues to climb and we carry out the biggest scale-up in history. The accomplishments of 2021 will be a vital foundation as we work to bring lifesaving meals to millions more of the most vulnerable people on the planet. You can support our efforts by donating.
This post was written by Paul Anthem, Simona Beltrami and Mert Er and originally appeared on wfp.org/stories.