, the World Food Programme (WFP) is the leading humanitarian organization fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience.
As the international community has committed to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition by 2030, one in nine people worldwide still do not have enough to eat. Food and food-related assistance lie at the heart of the struggle to break the cycle of hunger and poverty.
On any given day, WFP has 5,000 trucks, 20 ships and 92 planes on the move, delivering food and other assistance to those in most need. Every year, we distribute at an estimated average cost per ration of US$ 0.31. These numbers lie at the roots of WFP’s unparalleled reputation as an emergency responder, one that gets the job done quickly at scale in the most difficult environments.
WFP’s efforts focus on emergency assistance, relief and rehabilitation, development aid and special operations. Two-thirds of our work is in conflict-affected countries where people are three times more likely to be undernourished than those living in countries without conflict.
In emergencies, WFP is often first on the scene, providing food assistance to the victims of war, civil conflict, drought, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, crop failures and natural disasters. When the emergency subsides, WFP helps communities rebuild shattered lives and livelihoods. We also work to strengthen the resilience of people and communities affected by protracted crises by applying a development lens in our humanitarian response.
WFP development projects focus on nutrition, especially for mothers and children, addressing malnutrition from the earliest stages through programmes targeting the first 1,000 days from conception to a child’s second birthday, and later through school meals.
WFP is the largest humanitarian organisation implementing school feeding programmes worldwide and has been doing so for over 50 years. Each year, WFP provides school meals to 18.3 million children across 65 countries, often in the hardest-to-reach areas.
WFP purchases more than 3 million metric tons of food every year. At least three quarters of it comes from developing countries. By buying food as close as possible to where it is needed, we can save time and money on transport costs, and help sustain local economies. Increasingly, WFP meets people’s food needs through cash-based transfers that allow the people we serve to choose and shop for their own food locally.
Funded entirely by voluntary donations
, , in 2017 WFP raised US$6 billion. WFP has more than 15,000 staff worldwide of whom over 90 percent are based in the countries where the agency provides assistance.
WFP is governed by a 36-member Executive Board. It works closely with its two Rome-based sister organizations, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. WFP partners with more than 1,000 national and international NGOs to provide food assistance and tackle the underlying causes of hunger
WFP is committed to uphold aero-tolerance policy to sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (SEA). SEA constitutes serious misconduct and is grounds for disciplinary action, including summary dismissal and referral to enforcement authorities for criminal prosecution, where appropriate, in WFP and throughout the UN system. Following the three Circulars (ED2003/005; ED2004/001; ED2005/004), WFP’s Executive Director in 2014 issued the circular OED2014/020 outlining special measures for protection against SEA such obligations for all WFP employees to report any concerns or reasonable suspicions of SEA to:
In 2017, WFP rolled-out a “Guidance Note about the Prohibition on Engaging Prostitution Services”, aimed at helping employees understand WFP’s expectations of conduct as related to prostitution, considered a form of SEA.
In 2018, WFP also circulated a “Control Self-Assessment: Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse” document aiming to support CDs in linking controls to potential operational risk.
In 2015 WFP started implementing the newGender Policy (2015-2020). The major goal of the Policy is to:Enable WFP to integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment into all of its work and activities, to ensure that the different food security and nutrition needs of women, men, girls and boys are addressed. This goal is supported by four objectives:
A corporate Gender Action Plan (GAP), an accountability framework, was developed to implement the Gender Policy. The GAP transforms the Policy into concrete and measurable actions and accountabilities for all staff in WFP. The GAP lists actions, responsible WFP units, indicators and targets which are to be achieved by 2020.
This Gender Action Plan transforms the goal of the new Gender Policy into concrete and measurable actions and accountabilities to be implemented between 2015 and 2020 in two “layers”:
In layer 1 of the GAP, the programme indicators linked to each gender policy objective are mapped and embedded in WFP’s reporting frameworks, and new indicators are proposed for inclusion in future WFP result frameworks.
Layer 2 details the internal work that WFP needs to carry out to ensure concrete results related to gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE). The programme processes introduced in layer 2 will enhance the influence of GEWE mainstreaming on WFP’s needs assessments, programme design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and lesson-learning, including through the collection, analysis and use of sex- and age-disaggregated data. Actions for organizational change will strengthen WFP’s ability to deliver effective and efficient services to the people it assists.
Furthermore, 6 Regional Gender Strategies have been developed to enable context specific adaptations of the policy by regional bureaus and country offices. A Theory of Change analysis has further clarified inputs/outputs and the expected outcomes of the Gender Policy
In line with its2012 Policy on Humanitarian Protection, WFP seeks to implement food assistance programmes that take the inter-linkages between hunger and gender-based violence (of which conflict related sexual violence is one of the most prominent manifestations) into account, such as, for example: distance to and safety of program sites, risk of resorting to harmful coping mechanisms, including sexual exploitation. The objective is to ensure that programmes are safe and dignified, and to support an overall environment in which violence is reduced and its effects on survivors are mitigated.
A 2018 evaluation assessed the policy’s quality, results achieved and the factors influencing this achievement from 2012 to 2017. It found that while the Policy on Humanitarian Protection lacked a specific vision, it was well-grounded in international discourse on humanitarian protection. Developing the policy helped WFP to increase sensitivity to protection, and encouraged the development of related strategies. The six recommendations deriving from the evaluation called for the development of a new protection policy; the integration of protection considerations into corporate risk management; the strategic use of partnerships to achieve protection aims; strengthened staff capacities; strengthened analyses of contexts and protection issues; and a new strategy for engagement with affected populations and vulnerable groups.
In various countries WFP supports violence survivors during their temporary stay in safe shelters and afterwards, during their process of reintegration in the community. Through food for training programs WFP contributes to raise awareness on women's rights and gender equality.
All the above contribute to creating a gender sensitive enabling environment in the Organization and benefit WFP interventions and future policies as a whole. In countries targeted by UNSCR 1325, the Gender Policy and its instruments guide WFP staff to provide a more focus attention to gender equality and women and girls’ empowerment issues, including Women, Peace and Security matters.
WFP’s operational contexts are sometimes characterised by a high prevalence of gender-based violence (GBV), both in development and, particularly, in crisis settings. WFP has both an ethical obligation and a programmatic interest in taking GBV into account when planning, implementing and monitoring its operations. In addition, as a large humanitarian actor with a significant field presence, WFP staff may witness or come into contact with GBV issues. In this instance, WFP must ensure that its staff are able to deal with the affected person(s) in a safe and ethical way and refer them to the most appropriate actors for assistance and follow-up. WFP’s approach to GBV mirrors the broader approach to protection set forth in the Policy on Humanitarian Protection, which defines protection as “designing and carrying out food and livelihood assistance activities that do not increase the protection risks faced by the crisis-affected populations receiving assistance, but rather, contribute to the safety, dignity and integrity of vulnerable people”.
GBV as a protection and gender concern for WFP
Gender-based violence is recognized as both a protection and gender concern. As required by the Protection Policy, Gender Policy and in accordance with the “do no harm” approach, WFP programmes and interventions must not create, exacerbate or contribute to gender inequality or discrimination and must mitigate risks of GBV. When planning short- and medium-term emergency responses where GBV is recognized as a serious and widespread protection issue, the immediate response falls within the implementation of the Protection Policy. In order to address the root causes of GBV, longer-term planning with a more concerted approach to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment is required. The implementation of the Gender Policy is key in achieving this.
Every year, WFP runs the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign to support action to eliminate violence against women, men, girls and boys. The 16 Days campaign has been supported by the United Nations Secretary General’s Campaign UNiTE to End Violence Against Women since 2008 and aims to raise awareness and increase political will and resources for preventing and ending all forms of gender-based violence (GBV). It is symbolised by the color orange. For 2018, WFP’s call to action was “Orange the world – support gender-based violence survivors”. In calling for an end to gender-based violence, WFP mobilized to stand in solidarity with GBV survivors and survivor advocates. Please see the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence summary report, the Cairo Regional Bureau 16 Days Campaign report (email attachments) and list of activities to address violence against women and girls (Annex).
GBV and food insecurity
It is important to note that WFP can only play a role in addressing protection concerns that are connected to food insecurity, as these can be influenced by food assistance interventions. Since 2005, within the framework of the broader in-house protection discourse, WFP has been exploring the linkages among food insecurity, food assistance and GBV through extended field research and consultations with protection partners.
In 2010, WFP engaged in a series of field studies aimed at “Enhancing prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence in the context of food assistance in displacement settings”. This guidance builds on the findings of those studies, among other sources. The links between GBV and food insecurity are clear. GBV can increase levels of hunger and malnutrition by affecting people’s degree of access to and control over food. For example, poor families may sacrifice female children’s nutrition in order to meet the needs of male children. Additionally, people who have been exposed to GBV may suffer psychosocial or physical harm, stigma and exclusion, and consequently be unable to generate income and care for their dependents. In many contexts, women’s lack of access to and control of assets, services and income increases their economic dependence as well as their vulnerabilities to abusive and exploitative situations. These factors can lead to food insecurity.
WFP recognizes its responsibility to:
For more information, refer to IASC GBV Guidelines and GBV AoR Handbook for Coordinating GBV Interventions in Humanitarian Settings.
Food insecurity may exacerbate some forms of GBV. For example, women and girls who are traditionally tasked with finding fuel to prepare food, may need to venture to unsafe areas to collect firewood and be exposed to risk of assault. Within households, domestic violence can rise during periods of food scarcity, and may decline as assistance fills the food gap. Women heads of households may engage in transactional sex to be able to meet food needs, and parents may push for early marriage for their daughters in the hope they will have their food needs met elsewhere. Food or cash assistance in itself may also unintentionally contribute to GBV. A food distribution site that is located in an unsafe area, or is far from where people live, may expose women to sexual violence. Cash delivered to women without taking into consideration gender roles and responsibilities may unintentionally increase domestic violence in a society that is strictly opposed to women having control over economic resources.
-WFP Gender Policy 2015-2020, which goal is to enable WFP to integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment into all of its work and activities, to ensure that the different needs of women, men, girls and boys are met.
-WFP Policy on Humanitarian Protection (2012)
- WFP Gender-based Violence Manual (2016).This manual provides an overview of the key issues related to gender-based violence (GBV) in the context of WFP’s operations
- UNITE Campaign 201
-WFP activities, stories and reports from Regional Bureaux (RB Bangkok; RB Cairo, RB Dakar, RB Johannesburg; RB Panama) and WFP Country Offices
The UNiTE Group for the Americas and the Caribbean, including 9 agencies -PAHO, UNDP, OHCHR, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNHCR, ECLAC, WFP and UN Women- and the IDB and the OAS, developed 12 Key Messages to Eradicate Violence Against Women and Girls in Latin View More
The UNiTE Group for the Americas and the Caribbean, including 9 agencies -PAHO, UNDP, OHCHR, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNHCR, ECLAC, WFP and UN Women- and the IDB and the OAS, developed 12 Key Messages to Eradicate Violence Against Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean. This unprecedented effort led by UN Women, systematized the lessons learned from all the publications and knowledge produced in the context of the UNiTE Campaign in the last 7 years. These messages were launched in the framework of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, which took place in Montevideo in October of 2016. Thereafter, the messages were the basis for the celebrations of November 25th at regional and country level.Hide
In Djibouti, Eritrea and Ethiopia, WFP has taken an active role in promoting the rights of women and girl victims of FGM/C through awareness-raising campaigns and information sharing at all levels, including regional initiatives. WFP also contributed to the policy dialogue with government counterparts and key stakeholders during the sub-regional conference on FGM/C held in Djibouti.Hide
By providing fuel efficient stoves WFP contributes to reducing the vulnerability and frequency of exposure to risk of rape, beatings and murder as women and girls search for firewood. SAFE (Safe Access to Firewood and Alternative Energy) combines solutions to protection concerns associated with fuel/firewood collection, environmental awareness, health improvement and livelihood creation/diversification. In Darfur, through food-for-training programs, WFP has established 14 centres to train women to build mud stoves. In North Darfur, women have been producing briquettes for home use in place of wood and charcoal. In Sri Lanka, WFP purchased and distributed about 15,000 anagi stoves to returnees in the North. In Uganda, women trained in the construction of stoves are reporting that faster cooking time has allowed them to pursue other activities, and that the reduced time in collection of firewood is decreasing exposure to violence. WFP-assisted schools in Karamoja are reporting that since they started using the institutional stoves, children are no longer bringing firewood to school on a daily basis but rather every two to three days.Hide
To be protection-centred, WFP has to be people-centred – this starts with clear analysis that identifies the specific needs and risks experienced by our beneficiaries, the majority of who are women. WFP seeks to promote inclusive View More
To be protection-centred, WFP has to be people-centred – this starts with clear analysis that identifies the specific needs and risks experienced by our beneficiaries, the majority of who are women. WFP seeks to promote inclusive participation by including the voice of affected populations in conflict-sensitive analysis to influence its programmatic designs. This enables WFP to tailor its programmes to most effectively meet needs while reducing risks associated with accessing our assistance. Measures include basic operational considerations such as ensuring people are able to safely travel to and from distributions but also ensuring two-way communication with beneficiaries so they understand the purpose of WFP’s assistance and are aware of their entitlements.
Complaints and feedback mechanisms, as part of a broader AAP approach, are a central component of this engagement with the people we serve. They allow beneficiaries to raise issues with WFP and its partners and receive feedback on how they are addressed. When incidences of harm or abuse are reported WFP can take action to mitigate the opportunity for future incidences and refer beneficiaries to appropriate services. Overall, the feedback channels enabled by CFMs help improve service delivery while enhancing trust between WFP and the people it serves.
In 2019, Implementation of an inter-divisional initiative to standardize complaints and feedback mechanisms across country offices continued. WFP rolled-out the minimum standards for a functioning CFM to six regional bureaux and 32 country offices. As part of this roll-out, a standardised data intake form captures programmatic adjustment in response to feedback. In 2019, WFP took the lead on inter-agency CFMs in Mozambique and Syria. The CFM standardization package will include an overarching guidance document supported by templates and checklists to be translated and disseminated by end 2019.
In Nepal, mobility issues of women and girls are also assessed during GESI assessment of the projects/programme like School Meal Programme (SMP) conducted in 2019 and will be part of the study for Climate Adaptation Fund project this year.Hide
Cuba Country Office:
As part of the Inter-agency Gender Group, WFP participated in knowledge sharing workshops on preliminary results of the National Survey on Gender Inequality (led by the Centre for Women View More
Cuba Country Office:
As part of the Inter-agency Gender Group, WFP participated in knowledge sharing workshops on preliminary results of the National Survey on Gender Inequality (led by the Centre for Women Studies of the Cuban Women Federation), which also included analysis on gender-based violence issues. WFP also started to disseminate the results of this survey within the supported agricultural cooperatives.Hide
In 2004, WFP collected data in 28 country offices in the framework of its Enhanced Commitment to Women Baseline Survey Initiative, and qualitative data to complement the surveys in 6 more countries, of which some were conducted in collaboration with UNHCR. The surveys determined the awareness levels of male and female beneficiaries of: the fact that they are not to provide any favour in exchange for receiving food; and the channels available to them to report cases of abuse linked to food distribution.Hide
The issue of violence against women was thoroughly investigated during the last Food Security and Nutrition assessment by WFP in Darfur, Sudan, and a specific section on physical insecurity and gender-related violence was added into the final assessment report.Hide
The WFP Men Stand for Gender Equality Movement was founded by 24 male WFP colleagues during the 16 days of activism in 2015. Its members have been increasing ever since at HQ, Regional Bureaus and especially in the Country Offices, and the View More
The WFP Men Stand for Gender Equality Movement was founded by 24 male WFP colleagues during the 16 days of activism in 2015. Its members have been increasing ever since at HQ, Regional Bureaus and especially in the Country Offices, and the movement has been growing. In November 2016, the South Sudan Country Office launched its own ‘WFP Men Stand for Gender Equality’ initiative, and as of January 2017, the movement counts 322 members.Hide
In 2016, WFP has carried out a massive in-house sensitisation campaign for its own staff on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. Also, a total of 100 protection/gender focal points from different Country Offices were trained on View More
In 2016, WFP has carried out a massive in-house sensitisation campaign for its own staff on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. Also, a total of 100 protection/gender focal points from different Country Offices were trained on protection. The training covers gender-based violence and aims at building people's capacities for the integration of protection measures in food assistance programs, including GBV related measures.Hide