WFP continued to scale up food and cash distributions to food insecure populations for the sixth month (December) of the nine month relief response (July 2016 – March 2017) to El Niño-induced food insecurity. While maize (the staple commodity) was provided in full ration in December, all noncereal commodities continued at half ration due to resource constraints. Ration sizes will increase in January, but USD 22 million is still needed to meet the full needs of the affected population until the end of the operation in March.
WFP and partners continue to link relief food and cash assistance with complementary livelihood activities to ensure that communities can quickly recover.
During this unprecedented period of food-insecurity, WFP is also scaling up safety nets (like school meals) and expanding nutrition support to people living with HIV.
December marked the sixth month of distributions of lifesaving food assistance to the population experiencing El Niño-induced food insecurity, under a response which began in July 2016. WFP reached 90 percent of targeted food-insecure households for December, equivalent to 5.2 million people as of 3rd January, with distributions continuing for the remaining targeted households. January 2017 will mark the peak of the response when WFP will target 6 million people with food, cash and, for the first time, WFP will roll out a voucher for maize in partnership with the private sector for beneficiaries of cash-based transfers. Meanwhile, WFP continues to scale up complementarity productive asset creation opportunities for relief beneficiaries to help pave the way for recovery.
Nominal maize prices continued to remain stable on the local markets in the last week of December although current prices are 58 percent above their values a year ago and almost 100 percent higher than the three year average price. With a volatile market for maize, WFP will be rolling out a voucher for maize in January of the food basket of the lean season response to ensure price stability.
As part of efforts to strengthen Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) under the relief response, WFP is broadcasting key information about entitlements, targeting and complaints mechanisms on national radio. Radio skits on key issues related to food security such as diet diversity; proper infant and young child feeding, maternal health, and water and sanitation; HIV/AIDS; agricultural practices; and gender equality are also being broadcast on national radio to contribute towards positive social behaviour change and food security in the long run. Through a third-party, WFP has rolled out a toll-free hotline to manage complaints.
WFP continues to scale up its nutrition response with the aim of protecting gains in nutrition and HIV-related mortality during this period of unprecedented food insecurity by scaling up treatment to malnourished adolescents and adults living with HIV who are on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) starting in January.
WFP continued to provide assistance to government for the official launch of the National School Health and Nutrition Policy which seeks to facilitate a transition from daily porridge in 659 schools to Home Grown School Meals models – which WFP currently implements in 89 primary schools and involves linking local farmers’ production to schools to provide diversified, fresh daily meals. As part of efforts to strengthen safety nets like school meals during this period of food insecurity, WFP has also temporarily expanded its school meals programme to provide emergency take home rations of Super Cereal to 57,000 students in 71 primary schools in four districts in southern Malawi.