WFP/Juan Montes

The Situation

With one in every four children suffering from chronic malnutrition, one doesn’t have to look far in Honduras to find a child in desperate need of food. Food insecurity doesn’t only affect children; it impacts all sectors of the country, especially the rural population, 75 percent of whom live in extreme poverty.

Honduras, a low-income food-deficit country of 7.5 million people, is the third poorest country in Latin America and the Caribbean. One-third of the population lives on less than $1 a day. An estimated 1.5 million Hondurans face hunger, and recurrent natural disasters continue to threaten the most vulnerable people.

Honduras is one of the most vulnerable countries to natural disaster in the world, and extreme weather conditions frequently contribute to the problem of food insecurity. Hurricanes and prolonged heavy rains ruin crops and can prevent access to food and other basic necessities.

Prolonged droughts every other year have affected the food and nutritional security of the most vulnerable populations in the southern and western regions of Honduras. These regions are characterized by environmental degradation, and include a high concentration of small-scale subsistence farmers. These droughts have caused a sharp decrease in the production of basic grains—crops much of the population relies on for basic survival.

Chronic malnutrition can reach 48.5 percent in rural areas, with a stunting rate of 34 percent.

The HIV/AIDS pandemic is a serious and growing threat for the country. It is estimated that 0.70 percent of the population lives with HIV/AIDS.

World Food Programme's Work

WFP has been present in Honduras since 1970. WFP provides assistance through activities that improve food security, health and education for the most disadvantaged rural population.

  • School meals: The school meals program in Honduras supports increased access to education and reduced gender disparity in access to education. Daily meals serve as an incentive for families to send children to school and ensure that short-term hunger does not diminish children’s learning capacity. The program targets the poorest schools, and includes education, health, water and sanitation interventions. WFP works in partnership with the Government of Honduras, which provided funding through WFP to cover more than 1.2 million children in preschool and primary school. WFP and its partners, primarily Canada and the private sector, support an additional 150,000 children. Through this joint effort, almost 1.4 million children have received a meal in more than 17,500 schools throughout the whole country, becoming the third largest WFP school meal activity in the world.
  • Vulnerable groups: The program to assist vulnerable groups supports improved nutrition and health among children, pregnant and lactating women, mothers, people living with HIV/AIDS and other vulnerable communities.The poorest and most food-insecure areas are targeted in order to create conditions wherein these vulnerable groups can satisfy their special nutritional needs and their health needs related to nutrition.
  • Purchase for Progress (P4P): The program contributes to poverty reduction in Honduras by supporting the agricultural production of small-scale farmers, many of whom are women, and connecting them to the local market. In keeping with the agency’s policy to buy locally whenever possible, WFP purchases basic grains directly from small-scale farmers to distribute through school meals. Farmers participating in P4P gain access to agricultural supplies, credit and technical assistance in the entire supply chain of corn and beans. They also receive training in institutional strengthening and capacity building.
  • Emergencies: WFP supports poor and indigenous people living in isolated areas exposed to recurrent natural disasters, resolves the immediate crisis situation and provides emergency food assistance to save lives. WFP in Honduras not only serves the immediate food needs of poor people who suffer from hunger but also provides much needed support before and after emergencies, collaborating in a way that respects human dignity and promotes the self-sufficiency of individuals.