January marked the peak of the nine month (July 2016 – March 2017) El Niño-induced drought response for WFP and partners, with 6 million people targeted for relief assistance.
While all commodities were provided at full ration in January, Super Cereal continued at a reduced (75 percent) ration due to resource constraints.
Results from the first Post Distribution Monitoring of the relief response indicate that the assistance is making a difference, with a 7 percent drop in the number of households registering poor food consumption.
WFP is also scaling up safety net activities (e.g. school meals) and expanding nutrition support to people living with HIV. There is also increasing focus on recovery measures, as the emergency is expected to come to an end in March.
WFP and partners reached the peak of the humanitarian response in January, targeting 6 million people across 24 districts with food, cash and, for the first time, WFP rolled out a voucher for maize in partnership with the private sector. January also saw the resumption of full rations for all commodities for the first time since September 2016, with the exception of Super Cereal (which was still provided at 75 percent). As of 10 February, WFP had reached 99 percent of targeted food-insecure households for January, equivalent to 5.9 million people, with distributions continuing for the remaining targeted households. Access challenges due to the rains have hampered WFP’s ability to deliver on time. Meanwhile, WFP continues to scale up complementarity productive asset creation opportunities for 1.2 million beneficiaries in 21 districts and social behaviour change for all relief beneficiaries to help break the cycle of food and nutrition insecurity in the long run.
Humanitarian assistance has played an instrumental role in stabilising the food security situation particularly for the most vulnerable. Results from the first post distribution monitoring report show a 7 percent drop in the percentage of households registering poor food consumption. As the response approaches its expected end (March), WFP and partners are focusing on enhancing recovery efforts. As a first step, 35,000 households that are currently receiving relief assistance will be transitioned onto WFP’s multiyear Food for Assets resilience-building programme.
In an effort to strengthen protection and accountability to affected populations WFP, through its partner Yoneco, received 400 complaints through a toll-free hotline in January, of which 90 percent have already been resolved while the remainder are being addressed. Spot checks are ongoing with NGO partners to ensure that at all distribution points have multiple redress channels that are available to beneficiaries.
In late January, WFP and partners worked with the Government to prepare for the kick-off event for the redesign process of the Malawi National Social Support Programme – the country’s main social protection framework. The redesign process is being informed by the October 2016 high-level panel discussion on Shock Responsive Social Protection, co-hosted by the Government and WFP, and will benefit from an ongoing study on the topic commissioned by WFP, the Germany Development Cooperation (GiZ) and the World Bank in Malawi.
The emergency school meals programme continues to operate in 71 schools across the four hardest-hit districts and has had a positive impact on student retention. While school drop outs are typically high during the lean season, monitoring reports indicate that 30 to 50 learners per school have instead re-registered after the roll out of school meals, while the average attendance rate at supported schools was 88 percent.