Angola: Moving from emergency to recovery aid

News and Press Release
Originally published
JOHANNESBURG, 19 March (IRIN) - Emergency relief operations in Angola are beginning to bear fruit, allowing for more resources to be gradually pumped into recovery programmes, the World Food Programme (WFP) told IRIN on Wednesday.
In the Chipindo municipality of southwestern Huila province, WFP plans to graduate over 25,000 beneficiaries from emergency assistance into more recovery-oriented food-for-work programmes such as house building over the coming months.

"Following a successful harvest, general food distribution to over 13,500 beneficiaries will end and they will receive food-for-work and non-food items from May for engagement in community-driven projects to re-establish longer term agricultural self-sufficiency," the aid agency said in a recent report.

WFP spokesman in Luanda Marcelo Spina-Hering told IRIN the graduation of beneficiaries in Chipindo was "just the beginning".

"It is time to switch from relief to recovery, it's the trend that we as well as other agencies here have to embrace. Because it's one year since the ceasefire, of course there's still a lot we need in terms of relief for returning refugees and resettling internally displaced persons ... but there's no sense in keeping them dependent on food aid," he added.

WFP said a further 12,250 beneficiaries in Chipindo are expected to progress from emergency assistance to food-for-work programmes in August.

"We have to create the mechanisms for them to be able to be self-sufficient, this is something we really are focussing on. Over the past year we have been focussing mainly on relief aid, more than 50 percent of our operations are still relief operations, but it's decreasing. In the next six months there will probably be more recovery-oriented projects than relief operations.

"Hopefully by next year almost 100 percent of our operations will be recovery projects, but we want to maintain the capacity to respond to an emergency," Spina-Hering said.

He added that WFP was working closely with other agencies and NGOs on projects like food-for-work and food-for-training, and delivery of non-food items to help beneficiaries become self-sufficient.

Seed protection projects were another important component of these efforts. This involved giving food to people who had received seeds for planting so that they did not resort to eating the seeds when hungry. This also allowed for beneficiaries to "have the necessary energy to work the land", Spina-Hering noted.

Aid agencies estimate that about two million people need food aid in Angola.


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