259,200 people assisted in March 2021
USD 3.58 million distributed through cash-based transfers
USD 43.1 million six months net funding WFP Iraq requirements (May – October 2021)
Operational Update & COVID-19 Response
In March, WFP delivered cash and food assistance to 188,921 IDPs and 69,085 refugees, and 1,194 returnees and people from vulnerable communities through resilience building initiatives.
The COVID-19 situation continues to worsen with reported cases and fatalities on the rise. Curfews and movement restrictions as well as school re-closures across Iraq remain in place. WFP continues assistance to vulnerable households in camps. It was noted that IDPs who had moved back to Sinjar continued to return to camps in Duhok governorate. In the last week of March, 273 people arrived in Duhok IDP camps. Similar movements were observed in Jeddah-5 camp in Ninewa governorate. Local authorities approved their entry into the camps, and WFP reintegrated the households into its monthly food assistance programme through cash-based transfers.
WFP continues its support to food insecure rural populations through Food Assistance for Assets (FFA) activities, to promote the resilience of smallholder farmers through community assets rehabilitation and capacity strengthening. In Basra, WFP continues resilience building projects in collaboration with the partner Action Against Hunger and the Directorate of Water Resources and Directorate of Agriculture. Partners were selected for new rounds of field level agreements.
To support economically vulnerable families in urban areas, WFP began preparations for the launch of a new round of Urban Livelihoods activities in 2021, prioritizing those who were directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These initiatives will support the households to start or expand their small and medium businesses enabling them to generate a sustainable income. The planned locations for these projects are Ninewa,
Basra, Thi-Qar and Misan.
Under the partnership with the Ministry of Trade to digitalize the national Public Distribution System (PDS) for food rations, preparations to launch the “Tamwini” (“My Food Ration”) mobile app across all of Najaf governorate are almost complete. The app will enable people to safely update their data at home. WFP purchased 25,000 smartcards for the first phase of the roll-out to households. These smartcards are enabled with biometrics, for secure registration, and verification when people redeem their entitlements. impact of COVID-19 on food security in Iraq. The conference marked ten years since the start of the Syrian crisis.
On 31 March, a workshop with the Ministry of Planning,
Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, and Ministry of Trade was held to discuss a joint programme to reform social protection. The workshop and joint programme were the culmination of a consultative process with partners including the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and International Labour Organization (ILO) and will be funded by the European Union. It puts forward an actionable roadmap for 2021-2025 to implement the Government of Iraq's vision to reform social protection as outlined in the White Paper.
The social protection workshop participants emphasized that COVID-19 and the associated socio-economic impacts caused sharp increases in poverty, unemployment, and food insecurity in Iraq and highlighted the urgent need to strengthen the social protection system and accelerate reform. The joint programme builds on lessons learned from the Government response to COVID-19 and the new reform vision, including expanding coverage and integrating social protection schemes and services at the strategy, programme, and information management system level. The programme and reform will prioritize the vulnerable and the poor, focusing on children, youth, women, elderly, persons with disability, displaced people, and ensuring their equitable access to social protection and services that enable them to break free from poverty.
The next steps following the workshop include the development of a workplan for the first two years and the launch of the Social Protection Programme. Additionally, in collaboration with the international partners, the three Ministries will launch a ‘sector coordination mechanism’ to ensure effective collaboration and complementarity with national and international stakeholders.