WFP Launches New Operating Model to Restart Food Distribution to Millions of Vulnerable Ethiopians
ROME – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is activating its revamped approach to operations in Ethiopia, a major step which will start to reach 3.2 million people with food assistance for the first time since June 2023. U.N. World Food Programme food aid was suspended nationwide following reports of large-scale diversions earlier this year.
This is the culmination of a complete evaluation and reset of U.N. World Food Programme operations in Ethiopia focused on transparency, evidence, and operational independence. The U.N. World Food Programme’s new approach is underpinned by a robust set of safeguards and controls that have been extensively tested. These include:
- Using clear criteria to identify and digitally register the most vulnerable households and people.
- Working with local communities to verify those in greatest need.
- Reinforced commodity tracking to follow food movements from warehouses to beneficiaries.
- Increased monitoring and community feedback and reporting mechanisms that will unearth and quickly escalate potential misuse of food aid.
“U.N. World Food Programme teams and our partners have been working around the clock to get to this point,” said U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director Cindy McCain. “This approach, supported by both the government and partners, sets a new standard for humanitarian assistance in the country. We are now fully focused on getting food aid into the hands of Ethiopians who have gone too long without it.”
Following the success of limited-scale distributions carried out in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region to test the new systems, the U.N. World Food Programme will roll out food distributions for drought- and conflict-affected people in Afar, Amhara, Somali and Tigray regions. Food assistance will then expand to more of the most vulnerable populations once the new controls and measures are implemented at the regional level.
Last month, the U.N. World Food Programme resumed food assistance to nearly 900,000 refugees in camps across five regions in the country, after making major reforms to refugee programs. Ethiopia hosts refugees mostly from Somalia, South Sudan and Eritrea, as well as about 35,000 people who have fled from Sudan in recent months. The U.N. World Food Programme works closely with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other partners to provide food and other support.
While initially drawing upon in-country food stocks, the U.N. World Food Programme urgently needs $178 million to keep reaching and delivering food assistance to the most vulnerable people in Ethiopia until April 2024.
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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and the world’s leading 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.