Djibouti is the most food-deficit country in the Horn of Africa. The climate is hot and dry, and arid conditions are exacerbated by natural events such as El Niño phenomenon. Even in the best of times, Djibouti has a climate unsuited to crop production with less than eight inches of rainfall each year. The country compensates the gap by importing 90% of its food, making the country highly dependent on international market prices. Any variation in the international prices has a considerable impact on the poorest segment of the population, which spends 77% of household budgets on food.
Despite recent economic growth, the poverty rate stands at 79%, with 42% of the population living in extreme poverty.
WFP has been in Djibouti since 1978. The U.N. agency provides support to the government through activities including:
- Food and cash: WFP provides food and cash assistance to rural and urban families affected by drought and facing hunger.
- Malnutrition treatment and prevention services: WFP works to prevent severe and chronic malnutrition as well as treat moderate acute malnutrition. WFP also provides food to people living with HIV (PLHIV) and those undergoing treatment for tuberculosis (TB) to promote good nutrition and health, and ease the side effects of medication.
- School meals: School meals in rural pre, primary and middle schools combine food WFP buys internationally with and fresh food purchased locally. A take-home ration of oil is provided to families of schoolgirls as an incentive to keep them in school through the 9th grade.
- Assistance to refugees: WFP provides monthly in-kind or mixed cash-food assistance to registered refugees and asylum seekers in camps. Most refugees have limited or no income, and therefore rely almost exclusively on food assistance.
- Refugee girls receive a take-home ration to encourage girls’ school enrollment and attendance.
- Those at high risk of hunger are also helped via nutrition programs including the treatment of severe malnutrition and the prevention of chronic malnutrition.