World Food Programme – Telegraph.co.uk

The World Food Programme is aiming to stop global hunger by 2030, and Mastercard has been working with the organisation to help raise funds, provide the technology for vital food assistance and thereby help people in desperate need.

The WFP has five key initiatives to achieve Zero Hunger by the end of the next decade, and Mastercard cardholders can get involved by having every £5 donation they make matched by Mastercard.

Step 1

Put the furthest behind first  

The hungriest people should be put at the head of the queue for help. To fully tap into the potential of the globalised economy, the WFP encourages national governments to expand social protection schemes for the most vulnerable.

Providing this opportunity for equitable economic growth will raise the purchasing power of the planet’s poorest two billion people. That in turn will create incremental demand, generate new jobs and jump-start local economies. And investing in inclusive development is not simply the right thing to do – it also makes good business sense.

What the WFP is doing:

Social protection consists of policies and programmes designed to shelter people throughout their lives. It is critical in reducing poverty and inequality, and in promoting inclusive growth.

A subset of social protection policies, social safety nets are meant to provide the most vulnerable with predictable support in the form of food, goods, cash or vouchers. With almost 370 million global beneficiaries, school feeding is the most common safety net in the world.

School meals get the poorest and most vulnerable children to school and keep them there. Balanced meals lead to higher nutritional status and better grades. When the food is sourced locally, school meals programmes can also boost local agricultural development.

Step 2

Pave the road from farm to market

The pathway from food producers to markets must be made easier. Access to affordable, nutritious food for all seven billion people on Earth is vital.

Innovation and investment are needed to make supply chains more efficient by developing sustainable and durable markets. Improving rural infrastructure – particularly roads, storage and electrification – will help ensure farmers can reach a wider consumer base.

Step 3

Reduce food waste

We live in a world of vast food waste. According to the WFP, of the four billion tonnes of food produced annually, a third is wasted – costing the global economy nearly US$750bn annually. Many of us in Britain will know from our own experience that, as in other developed countries, food is often wasted on the plate. In developing countries it is far more likely to be lost in production, as crops go unused or unprocessed through poor storage or because farmers cannot get goods to market.

What the WFP is doing:

To tackle steps 2 and 3, the organisation works to enhance physical access to markets and services by building or rebuilding roads, bridges, schools, canteens, latrines, market places, community granaries and warehouses, and by providing alternative sources of energy such as fuel-efficient stoves.

Where feasible and appropriate, under its Food Assistance for Assets programme, it transfers the responsibility for carrying out these tasks to its beneficiaries themselves – in effect, assisting them to develop and manage their own assets. As they build up their own nutritional status and communal well-being over the long term, vulnerable households receive food and cash assistance to cover their immediate food needs.

Step 4

Encourage a sustainable variety of crops

The WFP is encouraging a sustainable variety of crops. Amazingly, just four – rice, wheat, corn and soya – represent 60 per cent of all calories consumed. That is a risky position, given the challenges of climate change. Helping farmers explore and identify a more diverse range of crops will improve food availability and access.

Crop diversity has the potential to provide communities with the nutrients required for healthy growth and an active lifestyle. Farmers will need education to cultivate less familiar crops, not only acquiring new skills but also the requisite tools. And to build a  consumer market for these diverse foods, there will have to be improved community education about the nutritional importance and benefits of a more diverse diet.

What WFP is doing:

For millions of people across Africa, Asia and Latin America, climate change means more frequent and intense floods, droughts and storms, accounting each year for up to 90 per cent of all natural disasters. These can quickly spiral into full-blown food and nutrition crises.

To support vulnerable countries and communities, the WFP provides analysis highlighting the links between food security and climate risks, as well as the present and future impact of climate change on food security and nutrition. This helps identify which communities are most at risk and informs national policy and planning, including the development of food assistance programmes that build resilience and reduce hunger.

The Food Insecurity and Climate Change Vulnerability map, developed by the WFP and the UK Met Office, highlights the importance of urgent action to scale up climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts for the most food-insecure people.

Step 5

Make nutrition a priority, starting with a child’s first 1000 days

The WFP is emphasising the crucial role of nutrition from before birth to lay the foundation for people to have long and productive lives. Good nutrition in everyone’s first 1,000 days, from conception through to the age of two, maximises the chances of full and normal development. To prevent stunting and to promote long-term health, children and nursing mothers must have access to nutritious foods.

The realisation of these five initiatives, based on scientific observation and humanitarian concern, will ensure a far brighter future for all of humanity in the coming decades of the 21st century. Mastercard is inviting its cardholders to join in supporting WFP’s goal of Zero Hunger by 2030.

What the WFP is doing:

As well as designing programmes that directly treat and prevent malnutrition, the WFP works to develop national capacity for finding long-term solutions, and to influence the broader policy dialogue on food and nutrition security.

Along with its direct nutrition interventions, we are integrating nutrition considerations into other areas of its work – even those that previously did not have improved nutrition as an explicit goal – to address the underlying causes of malnutrition. It works with partners across sectors such as health, agriculture, education and social protection to create environments that foster good nutrition.

Research confirms that the 1,000-day period from conception to a child’s second birthday offers a critical window of opportunity to prevent the largely irreversible damage done by early childhood undernutrition. Not only do pregnant women and nursing mothers have special nutritional needs themselves, but children whose mothers are malnourished before and during pregnancy are likely to be born already malnourished, creating an intergenerational cycle of undernutrition.

The WFP works to ensure that those at risk of malnutrition, especially pregnant and breastfeeding women, children, adolescent girls and the chronically ill, can always access nutritious food.

Feeding their future

For five years Mastercard has been working with the World Food Programme to end world hunger by raising funds for people in desperate need, in order to enable and empower them to create sustainable food systems and break out of the cycle of poverty. 

As well as developing new technologies to help deliver food assistance, Mastercard has developed numerous initiatives to raise funds and match donations, and this year was named WFP’s Hunger Hero for their commitment to helping end world hunger.

For more information on donating to the World Food Programme with Mastercard visit priceless.com/donate-uk. Provide meals for a whole class of children by giving just £5, and Mastercard will match your kindness and donate the same.

WFP does not endorse any product or service.

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