Funds From the U.S. Enable WFP to Meet Growing Needs of DRC Refugees in Zambia

Photo: Rein Skullerud/WFP
Published March 23, 2021

NCHELENGE – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a contribution of $610,000 from the United States (US), which will help provide cash assistance to 16,500 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) residing in the U.N. World Food Programme-supported Mantapala settlement.

“We are grateful for the generosity and continued support of the US. This support reaffirms their commitment to ensuring the food and nutrition security of DRC refugees in Zambia,” said Jayoung Lee, U.N. World Food Programme Deputy Country Representative in Zambia. “This funding arrives at a critical time. The influx of refugees has been steadily increasing throughout 2020, pushing up the need for food and nutrition assistance.”

Through the provision of cash-based transfers, this contribution from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will allow refugees to buy different types of food from the local markets and to choose what they wish to eat. In addition to supporting a more diverse diet, the cash assistance will also help stimulate local markets and foster peaceful coexistence between the refugees and host community.

The U.N. World Food Programme started to gradually transition refugees from food to cash assistance in May 2020, reaching almost the entire population in the Mantapala settlement by January 2021. Only families headed by children, those that could not be provided with an ID or a SIM card, those temporarily absent from the settlement and people staying at the transit centres continue to receive food. Each refugee receives ZMW 187 (approximately $9) per month, equivalent to the value of the in-kind food assistance, which can be spent on food and other essential goods.

The U.N. World Food Programme’s assistance has helped stabilize and maintain refugees’ food security in the settlement. “While the U.N. World Food Programme’s support currently remains the refugees’ main source of food, together with partners we are exploring options to support refugees’ livelihoods and their self-reliance beyond food assistance to help further improve their access to more diverse foods,” Ms. Lee said.

The US has been supporting the U.N. World Food Programme’s refugee operations in Zambia since 2018, when the Mantapala Refugee Settlement was established by the Government of Zambia following the large refugee influx from DRC that began in August 2017.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are 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.

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