When poor farmers barely subsist on a small patch of land, they often cannot afford to risk experimenting with new agricultural techniques. The unemployed can’t easily learn new skills if they spend all day scraping by on the black market. Residents of poverty-stricken communities hit by flooding or drought are often too busy looking for food to rebuild infrastructure vital for redevelopment.
Through its Food For Assets program, WFP aims to help people build resilience today and in the future by providing lifesaving food assistance in exchange for work on community projects like building roads, dams or irrigation system. Assets like these strengthen local livelihoods by making transportation possible, creating healthier environments through clean water and sanitation and reducing the risk of future natural disasters through more sustainable practices like rainwater harvesting and terracing.
WFP’s work in this area—which benefits farmers, pastoralists and urban dwellers alike—will be more essential than ever in the years to come when climate change is likely to intensify natural calamities. Eight out of 10 people receiving WFP assistance live in degraded, fragile or shock-prone environments—areas that are the most exposed to the effects of climate change. The community-centered approach also provides many other benefits like promoting nutrition, gender equality and social protection.