WFP India Country Brief, October 2020

Situation Report
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As part of WFP’s COVID-19 response, WFP continues to provide technical support to SAMARTH, a frontline civil society organization. SAMARTH has now identified and registered 19,000 vulnerable households and distributed food packets to 13,800 of them, including those with sex workers, transgender, migrants, and members who are chronically ill or have a disability.

Operational Updates

Promoting Access to Food

• WFP is supporting the Government’s efforts to increase awareness of the expansion of their food-based safety nets entitlements as part of the COVID-19 response. To this aim, WFP and its partner SPHERE India are expanding the awareness campaign to an additional seven cities, aiming to reach 10 million government beneficiaries through billboards, banners, posters, pamphlets and radio spots.

Improved Nutrition

• WFP has provided technical support to the Government of Chhattisgarh to launch the Centrally Sponsored Pilot Scheme for distribution of fortified rice through the Government’s Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) in Kondagaon District. The pilot scheme will provide fortified rice to 500,000 TPDS beneficiaries.

• To produce nutritious take-home rations (THR) for the Government’s Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme in Fatehpur and Unnao districts, Uttar Pradesh, women’s self-help groups received training on financial literacy, principles of nutrition and on the production of THR. In addition, 254 government staff from eight project districts were trained.

• WFP developed information, education and communication materials intended to raise awareness on use and consumption of fortified rice, adapted across 11 regional languages for 15 states. The materials will support the Department of Food and Public Distribution’s scale-up of including fortified rice in the ICDS and the Mid-day meals (MDM) programmes.

• WFP is working with the Chief Secretary of Meghalaya State (Northeast) to develop a strategy for introduction and distribution of fortified rice in the state.

Monitoring and Evaluation

• Data collection of the follow-up assessment on the impact of COVID-19 in Odisha concluded in October with analysis expected to be completed in November.

• Based on a request from the Ministry of Planning’s NITI Aayog, WFP is working with the Development Monitoring and Evaluation Office (DMEO) on a desk review and synthesis of 18 rapid assessments carried out by various actors between April and July to analyse the food and nutrition security situation.

NGO Capacity Strengthening

• On 16 October, the COVID-19 Academy Platform hosted a session for civil society members to celebrate the World Food Day. SPHERE India is running the digital learning platform for their partners, called the COVID Academy, and WFP staff have been leading sessions on food and nutrition security.

South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC)

• The Technical Advisory Group for the Electronic Negotiable Warehouse Receipts study met on 27 October to review and finalize the design and plan for data collection, which starts in November. This project is funded from the South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC)-COVID Opportunity Fund with the aim to share India’s success with the system to other countries.


• Planning for WFP’s follow-up assessment of intra-household food distribution and consumption among poor households in Uttar Pradesh is underway with data collection set to take place in December. WFP has also prepared a methodological note for this study to share with other WFP offices.

• Building on lessons learned from working with the front-line NGO SAMARTH, WFP has begun to document best practices for targeting and providing assistance to specific urban vulnerable groups including sex workers, transgender and victims of gender-based violence. The best practices focus on being mindful of the stigma these groups face, to protect their need for privacy and to understand the barriers they face in accessing government social protection systems.