Washington, D.C. (February 27, 2023) — World Food Program USA has made a $1 million grant in support of the United Nations World Food Programme’s (WFP) Rapid Rural Transformation (RRT) programs across southern Madagascar. This grant is part of a new strategic initiative at World Food Program USA to invest in targeted, programmatic solutions with the potential for long-term impact.
The RRT program, currently in a pilot phase, combines two climate risk mitigation strategies: strengthened natural resource management and diversification of incomes. RTT projects provide remote communities with vital infrastructure services including solar-powered hubs, a sustainable water source and online health check-ups – all of which greatly improve people’s quality of life. These scalable solutions help communities build food security as well as their resilience to climate shocks.
“While emergency assistance staves off hunger in the short-term, the chronic food insecurity we see in Madagascar – one of the world’s poorest and most disaster-prone countries – can only be meaningfully addressed by adequate investment in tackling its root causes,” said Barron Segar, president and CEO of World Food Program USA. “We felt it was important to directly invest in this innovative, long-term solution to build resiliency and drive development one village at a time. We’re excited to continue this approach to ensure overlooked projects are getting the resources they need.”
Each RRT hub, which is managed by regional authorities, allows various partners to set up integrated community services. These services include training centers for women and youth on food production and business skills, digital classrooms, solar-powered drip irrigation systems and hydroponics. The program will ultimately provide provide an ecosystem of integrated services needed to drive rural transformation in remote areas. The project kicked off in June 2022 and is currently about 75% of the way through construction and installation.
“The initiative is a game-changer,” says Pasqualina di Sirio, the U.N. World Food Programme’s country director in Madagascar. “Working with the government, the integrated services approach helps us to stimulate grassroots development, while addressing rural communities’ most pressing needs. Our plan is to expand the initiative to other villages and regions.”
Madagascar is among the top ten countries most vulnerable to climate disasters, which is a key driver of food insecurity in the region. Nearly 2 million people – over one-third of the south’s population – are estimated to face crisis or emergency levels of hunger, a number that is projected to surpass 2 million later this year. The U.N. World Food Programme has developed wide-ranging efforts to address the drivers of hunger and build resilience at the roots but such initiatives are significantly under-funded.
This is not the first time World Food Program USA has raised significant funds for Madagascar. In November 2021, the organization raised more than $4 million when ABC World News Tonight’s David Muir traveled to Madagascar to cover communities on the brink of famine.
About the United Nations World Food Programme
The U.N. World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
About World Food Program USA
World Food Program USA, a 501(c)(3) organization based in Washington, DC, proudly supports the mission of the United Nations World Food Programme by mobilizing American policymakers, businesses and individuals to advance the global movement to end hunger. To learn more about World Food Program USA’s mission, please visit wfpusa.org/mission-history.