WFP partners with Columbia University to feed hungry

(WFP world food programme)

Published on China View, by Anne Tang, 2009-09-29.

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) – The World Food Program (WFP) and the Millennium Villages project announced on Monday joint action that will help scale up local anti-famine initiatives around the world.

    “The potential is what we can learn and what we can scale up,” said Executive Director of the WFP Josette Sheeran. “It will help us understand how to work in other villages, and how to help the mutilize their own skills to overcome hunger issues.”

    The Millennium Villages project, spearheaded by the Earth Institute at Columbia University, implements community-led action plans to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  

    By joining forces with the Villages project, the WFP will deliver locally grown food to hungry people living in 80 villages in 10 countries – Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda.

    The project demonstrates how the MDGs can be fulfilled in even the poorest of regions, said Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute …

…  Working in conflict situations makes delivering assistance extremely difficult, said Sheeran, citing Somalia as the most challenging environments in the world.

    Upon being questioned by a reporter about stolen WFP food being sold in Somalia, Sheeran said the WFP is conducting an investigation into allegations that Somali contractors misappropriated aid and provided financial aid to insurgent groups.

    In February, the Wall Street Journal reviewed a UN internal report that said the food-distribution system in Somalia posed “considerable risk to the reputation and effectiveness of the organization.”

    The UN agency in Somalia, one of the largest, is in an epic battle against poor security and funding shortages as it tries to distribute aid for the 3.5 million people in need of food assistance.

    The WFP recently announced it has shut 12 feeding centers for mothers and children due to a 60-percent lack in funding. (full text).

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