Photo: WFP/Marco Frattini

Top 5 Goals We’re Reaching in Ethiopia With the Support of The Weeknd

World Food Program USA
October 7, 2021

Today, World Food Program USA is proud to announce multi-platinum winning artist The Weeknd as the newest member of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) family. Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, joins the U.N. World Food Programme as a Goodwill Ambassador with the goal of advocating for Zero Hunger and sending relief to countries affected by conflict, like his parents’ home of Ethiopia.

The Weeknd’s ambassadorship and advocacy will help shed a global spotlight on the rising tide of hunger unfolding across the world. In the Tigray Region of Ethiopia, conflict that began nearly a year ago continues to drive an unprecedented humanitarian and hunger crisis. Families have been forced to leave their homes and face the risk of famine if the conflict carries on.

the wknd joins wfp
Photo: Rich Fury/Getty

On Oct. 7, 2021, The Weeknd joined WFP and WFP USA in Los Angeles to spotlight our mission: Saving Lives and Changing Lives.

With support from The Weeknd and individuals like you, the U.N. World Food Programme is able to:

1. Reach Millions of People With Lifesaving Food

Since emergency operations began in March 2021, we have reached over 2.5 million people in the Tigray Region with lifesaving assistance. From nutritionally fortified supplements to cash, we gave the people of northern Ethiopia a lifeline when the violence struck.

woman in pink headscarf smiles softly
Photo: WFP/Marco Frattini

90 percent of the Tigray Region’s population needs food assistance and 400,000 people are estimated to already be facing famine-like conditions.

2. Deliver Monthly Food Rations to Refugees

Ethiopia is home to the second largest refugee population on the African continent. In Tigray alone, we’re providing 25,000 refugees with monthly food distributions.

Refugees also have the opportunity to participate in training courses like agriculture and business. These programs equip refugees with new skills to successfully enter their local markets and become self-reliant in the long term.

little boy eating nutrition bar
Photo: WFP/Marco Frattini

In July 2021, over 260,000 schoolchildren in northern Ethiopia were reached with 720 metric tons of food.

3. Provide Schoolchildren With Safe, Nutritious Meals

In times of conflict, the most vulnerable people are often women and young children. To keep children fed and in the classroom, we provide school meals for children in the Afar, Oromia and Somali regions of Ethiopia. The meals are also made from local products like cereals, grains, vegetable oil and salt to support farmers and economies in the region.

family sitting on ground together
Photo: WFP/Gemma Snowdon

“The U.N. World Food Programme is calling for all parties to agree to a ceasefire and guarantee an unimpeded flow of humanitarian supplies into Tigray, so that we can deliver lifesaving food and other emergency supplies safely before it’s too late,” said Michael Dunford, the U.N. World Food Programme’s Corporate Response Director for Tigray.

4. Deploy Over 370 Staff to Tigray

Since the start of the conflict in northern Ethiopia, the U.N. World Food Programme has deployed over 374 staff members to the region and continues to scale up operations to reach the most vulnerable people facing hunger. Teams are on the ground delivering tons of food and replenishing stocks of fuel and healthcare and shelter supplies.

man standing on WFP truck
Photo: WFP/Claire Nevill

Ethiopia hosts one of the U.N. World Food Programme’s largest supply chain operations, with over 400,000 metric tons of food delivered each year to 3,000 distribution points and 26 refugee camps.

5. Lead Food Security, Logistics and Telecommunications Efforts

In Tigray, we’re leading the humanitarian response—including the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), which transports humanitarian workers in and out of the region.

Between September 5 and 29, nearly 200 trucks entered the Tigray Region carrying 6,150 metric tons of food and nutrition supplies – enough to feed more than 360,000 people for one month. We are also working with commercial transporters to overcome the challenges of local violence and checkpoints to free up the movement of trucks. As of September 30, 90 trucks have exited Tigray and are now available for the movement of lifesaving humanitarian aid into the Region.

We’re so excited that The Weeknd has stepped up as a champion for Zero Hunger, first by donating 2 million meals to people facing hunger in Ethiopia and now becoming a U.N. World Food Programme Goodwill Ambassador. We are proud to welcome an artist who has already exhibited such passion for and commitment to the fight against global hunger. We look forward to the spotlight this partnership will shine on conflict-affected countries around the world.

See all the news and photos from The Weeknd’s announcement here.