Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Grants $500,000 to Support Lifesaving Food Assistance in Burkina Faso and Burundi

Photo: WFP/Giulio d'Adamo
Published December 15, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC (December 15, 2020) – Today, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation made a generous $500,000 one-year grant to World Food Program USA in support of the United Nations World Food Programme’s lifesaving food assistance operations in Burkina Faso and Burundi. As 270 million people march toward starvation due to the socioeconomic fallout of the pandemic, conflict-ridden Burkina Faso is one of four nations teetering on the brink of famine. The Hilton Foundation’s contribution is critical in addressing urgent hunger in these nations.

“The World Food Programme knows that conflict and economic insecurity are the main drivers of hunger, and addressing hunger builds the foundation for stability and peace. We are deeply grateful to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation for their support and commitment to feeding those who are most in need and most at risk for starvation,” said Barron Segar, President and CEO, World Food Program USA. “With governments now facing tighter budgets because of the global pandemic, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is modeling the critical role that our country’s thriving private sector can play in saving lives.”

Of the nearly 700 million chronically hungry people in the world, 60 percent live in countries affected by conflict. In fact, about two-thirds of the U.N. World Food Programme’s life-saving food assistance goes to people affected by conflict-induced food crises. Since 2018, Burkina Faso, a landlocked country of about 20 million in West Africa, has faced increasing forced displacement and food insecurity due to conflict caused by non-state armed groups. The U.N. World Food Programme has been scaling up its operations in Burkina Faso to provide vital assistance to 1.2 million of the most vulnerable during the peak lean season. Due to funding shortfalls amid the growing need, it has been forced to cut rations there.

“At a time when so many communities around the world are feeling the combined effects of conflict, food insecurity and COVID-19, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is committed to supporting those that don’t reach the headlines,” said Marc Holley, vice president of strategy and programs at the Hilton Foundation. “Despite these challenging times, the humanitarian workers at the U.N. World Food Programme continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the people of Burkina Faso and Burundi have access to food and lifesaving support.”

The U.N. World Food Programme’s work in Burkina Faso and Burundi includes emergency food assistance, school feeding, malnutrition treatment and prevention, resilience building, government capacity strengthening, and support for smallholder farmers. Two million people in Burkina Faso are struggling to feed themselves, and of those, over one million are internally displaced after fleeing violence. Agriculture is the main livelihood for more than 80 percent of the country, and most of those displaced are subsistence farmers and herders who have been forced to abandon their farms, homes, and livelihoods. Burundi, a country of 11 million in East Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world where more than 65 percent of people live in poverty and 50 percent of the population is chronically food insecure. Burundi’s prevalence of chronic malnutrition is the highest in the world, with 56 percent of children experiencing severe hunger. The U.N. World Food Programme provides lifesaving food assistance, helps strengthen the country’s own social protection system and capacity to cope and recover from crises, supports smallholder farmers, and implements malnutrition prevention initiatives through food fortification and climate adaptation.

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About World Food Program USA | World Food Program USA is the recognized leader in America’s pursuit to end global hunger. We work with U.S. policymakers, corporations, foundations and individuals to generate financial and in-kind resources for the United Nations World Food Programme, 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, to feed families in need around the world and to develop policies necessary to alleviate global hunger. To learn more about World Food Program USA’s mission, please visit us at

About the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation | The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help individuals throughout the world living in poverty and experiencing disadvantage. The Foundation invests in several program areas, including providing access to safe water, supporting transition age foster youth, ending chronic homelessness, hospitality workforce development, disaster relief and recovery, helping young children affected by HIV and AIDS, and supporting the work of Catholic sisters. In addition, following selection by an independent international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $2.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to a nonprofit organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. From its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1.8 billion in grants, distributing $110 million in the U.S. and around the world in 2019. Foundation assets are approximately $6.6 billion. For more information, please visit

Media Contacts:

  • Toula Athas, World Food Program USA,, 202-627-3940
  • Julia Friedman, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation,, 818-851-3754