MBABANE - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a donation of rice valued at US$1.8 million from the Government of Japan to support some 52,000 children in Swaziland for a period of one year.
The rice will be distributed to the children – who are orphans or otherwise vulnerable, and between two and eight years old – at up to 1,600 Neighbourhood Care Points (NCPs) around the country. NCPs provide nutritious food and basic social health services. High levels of HIV/AIDS and high rates of malnutrition within the country mean that the services children receive at the NCPs are crutial to their development and well-being.
Mr. Shuichiro Kawaguchi, Minister Counsellor at the Embassy of Japan, said “this humanitarian food support is given with the aims of improving the lives and food security of Swaziland’s most vulnerable children, allowing them to feed their dreams.”
“This donation from Japan comes at a crucial time”, said WFP Swaziland Country Director Alberto Mendes. “It goes a long way to ease the funding shortfalls that have negatively impacted our ability to help these vulnerable children, who account for nearly half of Swaziland’s under 18 population”.
Food shortages caused by the El Nino–induced drought of recent years persist in Swaziland. Despite the efforts of WFP and its partners, a new study from 2017 Swazi Vulnerability Assessment Committee forecasts that the number of people expected to face food insecurity during the peak of the lean season from October 2017 to March 2018 will reach 177,000 people, mostly women, children and people living with disabilities in the most arid regions of the country, especially in Lubombo and Shiselweni.
Japan has been a consistent donor to WFP in Swaziland, proving vital support at a time with low levels of funding have meant programmatic shortages and supporting emergency assistance during the El Nino induced drought.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries. Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media and @WFP_Africa
For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org): Caitlin Fowler, WFP/Swaziland, Tel. +268 2404 4962/3