Through initiatives such as cash grants and training in agricultural skills, the World Food Programme and European Union seek to change lives
“I built this house with my own hands as I used to work as a builder, but it was partially destroyed during the [armed] escalation,” says Ahmad, as he recalls the hostilities in Gaza in May. ”I was shocked and didn’t know what to do with a big family like mine.”
Ahmad and his wife Taghreed have four children. In May, they were among many who found themselves homeless and unable to secure food and other basic needs.
No access to healthy food
For weeks, they did not have access to healthy food and protein. Even before the latest escalation, food insecurity in Gaza was high, with over 60 percent of households suffering from moderate to severe food insecurity. After the escalation, even more families were forced to adopt damaging coping strategies: in the case of Ahmad and his family, they had to eat less and rely heavily on bread and lentils, missing out on important nutrition.
Thanks also to a generous contribution of €3 million (US$3.4m) from the European Union, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has supported 23,400 people in need with critical assistance in the Gaza Strip – that’s more than 4,000 families, including Ahmed and Taghreed’s.
Assistance is empowering
The assistance not only helps people survive, it empowers them to invest assistance where they need it to go and offers a step toward longer-term security.
“Part of the aid [cash assistance] went for food, and another to cover part of the house rent and to pay debts. I used some of it to buy my daughter her school uniform and supplies,” says Ahmed. “During the past three months, I managed to put chicken on my family’s table on Fridays.”
Taghreed, adds, “Our children try to work at whatever available daily job to help, and they eat anything I make them. It is wonderful that we can eat meat again, but our priority remains keeping the family safe under one roof.”
In Palestine, needs are vast, but despite years of hardship people have built incredible resilience. Throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, WFP provides food assistance to the most vulnerable people through in-kind food and cash transfers. The organization also supports people's ability to cope over the long term, with training programmes.
It equips people with skills for employment, providing home-based farming tools for fodder production, help in keeping livestock, and hydroponics units to improve food security and the nutritional needs of the most vulnerable Palestinian families.
WFP was the first to respond with humanitarian assistance during the recent round of hostilities in Gaza, providing emergency relief to over 100,000 people in need. Recovery assistance, including through multi-purpose cash assistance made possible by generous support from donors including the European Union, continues.