BAGHDAD – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has launched new projects in Iraq to help provide thousands of people with short-term employment opportunities, so they can start working again during the COVID-19 pandemic and meet their family’s food needs.
The projects target up to 68,000 people in Baghdad, Basra, Mosul and Wassit and are run in collaboration with WFP’s partners Mercy Hands, OROKOM and GOAL. The initiative is part of WFP’s COVID-19 response. Due to the pandemic, WFP identified the urgent need for activities to quickly help people who lost their jobs get back on their feet, especially day labourers and those who depend on seasonal employment.
WFP rolled out these urban livelihoods activities in August and they have now reached all locations. Participants receive a cash stipend in return for their work on useful community activities, such as clearing public parks and squares, renovating schools, planting trees, cleaning drains, painting sidewalks, recycling and more.
In parallel, WFP’s ongoing work on resilience projects are helping an additional 70,000 vulnerable people, creating sustainable sources of income through climate resilient agricultural activities. These projects focus on smallholder farmers and returnees from camps for internally displaced people. At the same time, WFP continues its food assistance for displaced and refugee families in camps, reaching up to an additional 45,000 vulnerable people during the pandemic.
At a time of ongoing uncertainty, when families are struggling to put food on the table, the projects also help inject cash into local economies, supporting entire local communities. WFP and its partners are collaborating closely with local municipalities in Baghdad, Basra, Mosul and Wassit, who have welcomed the initiative. All activities are being coordinated with special COVID-19 precautions in place, to help keep people safe.
“The Urban Livelihoods projects are a new way to help people both meet their food needs during the crisis and contribute towards boosting the local economy, benefiting communities at large,” said WFP Deputy Representative in Iraq Asif Bhutto. “We once again thank all donors for having made this vital element of WFP’s COVID-19 response possible, and welcome new contributions to be able to reach more communities at a time of great need.”
The Urban Livelihoods projects are supported by a number of generous donors to a special WFP internal fund that receives flexible contributions to be allocated where most needed. This year, the governments of Belgium, Canada, Finland, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and also private donors, have allowed WFP to respond to mounting needs in Iraq. Further Urban Livelihoods activities are required across the country, and WFP is appealing for US$10.1 million to reach up to 300,000 people.
The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
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