WFP’s goal for Lao PDR is the eradication of malnutrition and undernourishment, improving overall health, wellbeing and development. A key area of engagement is the reduction and prevention of stunting and malnutrition related anaemia. Other areas include food waste management, resourceful handling of food and addressing the underlying causes of existing micronutrient deficiencies.
In alignment with the Government’s 8th National SocioEconomic Development Plan and the extension of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), the WFP Country Programme (CP) has been extended until December 2016. WFP efforts are governed by four principles: 1) save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies, 2) support or restore food security and nutrition and establish or rebuild livelihoods in fragile settings and following emergencies, 3) reduce risk and enable people and communities to meet their own food and nutritional needs, and 4) reduce malnutrition and break the intergenerational cycle of hunger.
In 2015, WFP assisted 240,000 people. WFP has been present in the country since 1976.
Summary of WFP assistance:
WFP is supporting the Government’s goal of ending undernutrition and its debilitating impact on human potential and national development. WFP’s long-term goal is to enhance food security and nutrition in targeted communities by implementing sustainable programmes. In addition to building national capacity, WFP supports activities which address the three elements of food security by increasing food availability, improving households’ access to food and advocating for food utilisation issues. To achieve this, WFP Lao PDR uses a lifecycle approach.
The Mother and Child Health and Nutrition (MCHN) effort provides pregnant women and nursing mothers with nutritional support through supplements and food rations. Once a child is born, WFP supplies micronutrient supplements to the new-born for the first two years of life. The programme ensures nutritional balance and prevents malnutrition and stunting. WFP’s close consultation with local health centres provides optimal ongoing care.
For children of pre-school and school age, WFP provides a nutritious mid-morning snack or school lunch as well as education about healthy eating. The School Meals programme targets over 1,500 primary schools and includes setting up school gardens used for educational purposes and as input to the school lunches. WFP is working on formulating a hand over strategy with the Government.
In adulthood, rural development activities assist local farmers to increase their produce through Food Assistance for Assets, thus encouraging self-sufficiency and improving their long-term food security.
In all stages of life, WFP wants to address micronutrient deficiencies, advocating with the Lao Government and the private sector on fortification of locally produced foods to increase consumption of micronutrients.
Lao PDR lies in a geographical area prone to natural disasters. Recurring floods, excessive rain or persistent droughts lead to food insecurity, making planning ahead paramount. WFP’s Emergency Preparedness and Response initiatives train the Government and communities to take appropriate action in a crisis. Furthermore, should disaster strike, WFP Lao PDR maintains an emergency stock of canned fish to feed 35,000 people.