CAIRO – In support of Egypt’s Ministry of Social Solidarity (MOSS), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has started providing financial assistance to more than 40,000 mothers registered under the Ministry’s ‘Takaful and Karama’ program and their children under two years to prevent malnutrition and help families fulfill their nutritional needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project is under the auspices of MOSS and is part of its social protection program the ‘First 1,000 Days’ that is implemented in partnership with the U.N. World Food Programme.

Thanks to a contribution of $220,000 from the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development (SFSD) towards this program, the U.N. World Food Programme will be providing food assistance through cash transfers for more than 4,000 of these women and their children. This support is a first-of-its-kind between SFSD and the U.N. World Food Programme towards food security for such vulnerable communities.

“The ‘1000 Days of Life’ Program is key to the Ministry of Social Solidarity as it provides support to vulnerable pregnant and nursing mothers and their children under two guaranteeing healthy nutrition during a critical stage in the child’s development timeline. The negative effect of inadequate nutrition during this time is irreversible making this program a pivotal one,” said Minister of Social Solidarity Nivine El Kabbag.

“The effects of inadequate nutrition place a great burden on the heath and education services of the country as it limits the level of productivity of its citizens. It is therefore important to invest in the health and nutrition of the child from the beginning of the pregnancy and throughout the first two years of their life as this is considered an investment in the future of the country,” added Minister Nivine El Kabbag.

This assistance is part of the cooperation between the ministry and the U.N. World Food Programme working together to provide social protection to the most vulnerable communities and those most prone to the negative impacts of malnutrition; placing a huge economic burden on the country as a result of its impact on the health sector and the cognitive capabilities of the children and hence the productivity of the citizens.

“During these difficult times, it is critical to bring all efforts together to work towards supporting the most vulnerable who have been worst affected by the negative impact of this pandemic and WFP is supporting the government’s efforts to assist them,” said U.N. World Food Programme Representative and Country Director in Egypt Menghestab Haile. “We are especially keen on supporting mothers and children so they can get through this difficult time and help secure a healthy and safe future for these families and future generations.”

More families are struggling to make ends meet with limited or affected income as a result of the pandemic. “Improving the wellbeing of Egyptians is one of Sawiris Foundation’s primary priorities. We strive to ensure that Egypt’s most disadvantaged citizens can secure their most basic needs, particularly at a time of emergency such as the COVID-19 crisis,” said Executive Director of SFSD Noura Selim. “Our collaboration with WFP and MOSS, reinforces our commitment to sustainable development and to helping the Egyptian people overcome this pandemic safely.”

The U.N. World Food Programme is the sole UN agency in Egypt providing food security to the most vulnerable populations and continues to count on the contributions of donors to sustain and scale up assistance to the most vulnerable populations in Egypt throughout its COVID-19 response and recovery phases.

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About WFP | The United Nations World Food Programme – saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future. | Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA, @WFP_AR and @WFP_MENA

About Sawiris Foundation for Social Development | The Sawiris Foundation for Social Development was established in 2001 as one of the first national donor foundations in Egypt with an endowment from the Sawiris Family aiming at supporting development projects and programs implemented by NGOs in partnership with the private and public sectors. The foundation focuses on promoting the participation and empowerment of Egypt’s most underprivileged communities and improving their conditions by focusing on job creation, provision of high-quality education, addressing priority health topics, and community development.



  • Christine Hanna, WFP/Cairo, email:
  • Wessam Ragab, Senior Media & Communications Officer/Sawiris Foundation, email:

CAIRO — The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Egypt expanded on Wednesday its existing food assistance to refugees in the country to include populations other than Syrian refugees.

It is the first time WFP has included other nationalities since the start of its refugee assistance program in Egypt six years ago. This comes in line with its “one refugee” policy, which states that vulnerable refugees of different nationalities residing in one country receive equal access to assistance based on their needs.

Thanks to a generous contribution from USAID’s Office of Food For Peace, WFP can now reach an additional 24,000 registered refugees identified as ‘most vulnerable’. The refugees receive a monthly food voucher which they can use to purchase healthy food items at 50 locally-contracted retailers and secure their families’ basic food needs.

“Today, thanks to the contribution of USAID Food For Peace, we are starting a new chapter in our food assistance program, reaching out to more vulnerable refugees regardless of their nationality,” said Menghestab Haile, WFP Representative and Country Director in Egypt. “We rely on the generosity of donors to reach a target of 50,000 vulnerable refugees from different nationalities by the end of 2019.”

Over half of the refugees residing in Egypt are from Syria, with the rest coming from Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan and Yemen. WFP has been assisting vulnerable Syrian refugees in Egypt since 2013, injecting some $148 million into the Egyptian economy through food vouchers and local food purchases.

Recent results from WFP’s food security analysis show that WFP food assistance has lifted more than one third of targeted refugees above the national income poverty line and has significantly contributed to their food security status.

WFP’s monitoring also shows that refugees receiving assistance rely on their food vouchers to buy essential food items like meat, eggs, dairy, oils and beans.

WFP has been in Egypt since 1968, working with the government to respond to humanitarian needs and tackle the underlying causes of vulnerability to food insecurity and malnutrition in the country.

The United Nations World Food Programme – saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters and laying the foundations for a better future. Follow us on Twitter @WFP_AR and @WFP_MENA

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