Despite achieving lower-middle-income status in 2011, Zambia continues to face complex development challenges. While food production at the national level consistently exceeds domestic requirements, both the availability of and access to adequate and nutritious food are a persistent challenge for many poor households, mainly because of the country’s overreliance on maize. Zambia’s proportion of undernourished people is among the world’s highest, with 48 percent of people unable to meet their minimum calorie requirements and stunting affecting 40 percent of children under 5 years of age. Zambia also has one of the world’s most unequal societies, and imbalanced gender power relations being a major contributor to poverty and food insecurity.
To address these challenges, WFP’s Zambia country office has designed a five-year country strategic plan that is the result of rigorous consultations with the Government, donors and other stakeholders and that reflects the appetite of these stakeholders for supporting and partnering with WFP in the country. It is informed by and strongly aligned with national and United Nations priorities and global commitments articulated in the Sustainable Development Goals. It embraces the Government’s long-term Vision 2030, is coherent with ten key strategic areas of the country’s seventh national development plan and contributes to the joint Zambia-United Nations sustainable development partnership framework. The country strategic plan is informed by WFP’s long-standing and broad experience in the country, embracing lessons from evaluations and reviews that call for greater synergy, a consolidation of pilot initiatives and improved gendersensitive approaches to programme design. It is also guided by the national zero hunger strategic review.
In a break with past approaches, both the zero hunger strategic review and the seventh national development plan reflect a recognition of hunger and malnutrition as multifaceted issues that require well-integrated, collaborative, multisectoral national approaches that draw on the skills and resources of core stakeholders.
The strategic review and the national development plan point to an increasing national consensus on how to ensure food and nutrition security, which has created an opportunity for WFP to refocus its investments and efforts on areas where it has a genuine comparative advantage and can generate maximum impact. Through this integrated country strategic plan, WFP proposes to make a pragmatic shift from unsustainable localized and microlevel interventions to advocacy for and engagement with national policies, systems and programmes that facilitate the country’s achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 2. Given the Government’s commitment to allocating budget resources to nutrition, social protection and agriculture interventions, despite Zambia’s constrained national finances, WFP’s overarching strategy is to provide enhanced systems, expertise and resources aimed at enabling the Government to meet its policy objectives.
In accordance with WFP’s corporate strategic plan for 2017–2021, the country strategic plan addresses Sustainable Development Goals 2 and 17 and WFP’s Strategic Results 1, 2, 3 and 5. WFP will implement six activities aimed at the achievement of four strategic outcomes: respond to crises and shocks, including through support for refugees; address the root causes of malnutrition; build resilience, an enabling environment and market access for smallholders, especially women; and support government institutions in providing social protection systems, including homegrown school feeding, and disaster preparedness and response.
To achieve these outcomes, WFP will shift to upstream activities focused on the generation of evidence, advocacy and support for policy reform, enhancement of national systems in order to facilitate scale up of sustainable assistance, facilitation of better knowledge management and information exchange, and strengthening of capacities at the institutional and individual levels.
Nutrition-sensitive and gender-transformative approaches will be integrated into all activities.
Tailored nutrition messaging will be incorporated into shock-responsive social assistance programmes, which will be triggered as needed. Gender equality and women’s empowerment will be pursued in order to address gender inequality as one of the root causes of food and nutrition insecurity. WFP will respect and advance environmental and social safeguards and prioritize protection of and accountability to affected people, especially the most vulnerable, including young children, adolescents, women and persons with disabilities.
WFP has been viewed as a valued partner in Zambia for many decades. In recent years it has driven innovation and positive change in the areas of disaster risk management, smallholder support, school feeding and social protection. In this country strategic plan, the broad focus is on the strengthening of capacities and systems in order to enable the Government to address the systemic challenges that are barriers to the achievement of zero hunger. Sustainability is therefore both an end goal and an essential element of WFP’s exit strategy.
Through the country strategic plan, WFP articulates its changing role in Zambia, setting the course towards zero hunger and focusing its efforts on the strengthening of systems and capacities and the provision of support for programmes and coordination in pursuit of its vision of a food-secure Zambia by 2030 with well-resourced, well-coordinated and nationally owned food and nutrition security systems and programmes.