How small local shops can be tools to fight hunger

Story by Kelly Stablein

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Lekoane Busa, a local grocery retailer in Pontseng, Quthing district, Lesotho, faced business challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: WFP/‘Malehloa Letsie

COVID-19 has disrupted the lives of everyone around the world and small businesses are no exception. Lekoane Busa, a small grocery retailer and farmer in Lesotho, would know. He has been running Tsau-Tsau General Dealer since 1963 — the shop enabled him to send his eight children to school. But this year is different.

“Business has not been the same since the pandemic began,” says Busa. “Many of our customers have lost their jobs so they are spending less, and as a result, we are making less too.”

Lesotho, a country landlocked by South Africa, was already facing a food security crisis due to consequences from the El-Niño-induced drought. Crop failures, limited stock, low incomes and high food prices have all been exacerbated by the pandemic. …

COVID-19 made 2020 one of WFP’s most challenging years yet, but thanks to UK funding, our life-saving programmes have continued in Mozambique

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Photo: WFP/Chico Carneiro

By Vanessa Jones
Mozambique is affected by climate events more than any other country in the world. Each year, almost half the population is exposed to floods or drought, and much of the country is at risk of cyclones. With 80 percent of people relying on agriculture to survive, lack of food and malnutrition are a constant threat.

Since 2017, the UK has been funding WFP Mozambique to save lives when disaster strikes. Thanks to generous support of its Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), we are able to reach emergency-struck communities with specialized nutritious foods (SNF) to treat children aged under-5, along with pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, who are suffering from malnutrition. …

As the World Food Programme receives the Nobel Peace Prize medal, 5 staffers look back at responses to conflict and climate change. By Sheshadri Kottearachchi

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On 10 December 2020, United Nations World Food Programme will receive the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize medal for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.

Pathmarajani Pathmanathan, Project Lead, WFP Sri Lanka

Peace to me is being able to go to bed with a clear mind and waking up the next morning with the same peace of mind — knowing that there will be nutritious food on the table.

My responsibilities while working at WFP during Sri Lanka’s civil conflict [of 1983–2009] covered every aspect of food distribution — from the warehouse right down to the distribution locations within the conflict zone. Families living within conflict zones were constantly worried about whether they would have enough food for their children. …

As the World Food Programme is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Abdulaziz Abdulmomin speaks to Susana from South Sudan

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Susana and her niece received their food rations and were waiting under the shade to avoid the scorching heat of the sun before finding a donkey cart to take them home. Photo: WFP/Abdulaziz Abdulmomin

On 10 December 2020, the World Food Programme will receive the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize medal for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.

App allows users to donate meals via their mobile phones

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Members of the ShareTheMeal community have shared close to 90 million meals with vulnerable people across the world. Photo: WFP/Arete/Ed Ram

On 1 December, the World Food Programme (WFP)’s fundraising app, ShareTheMeal , was recognized by both Google and Apple as one of the best apps of 2020, winning Google’s “Best apps of 2020” in the category “App for Good” and Apple’s “Best of 2020” in the category “Trend of the Year: Making a Difference”.

Four voices from the World Food Programme’s Common Services on overcoming the challenges of keeping the humanitarian community up and running when the pandemic kicked off

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Sephora, aged 18, with her daughter at a WFP health centre in Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo, run with funding from China— the organization’s Common Services assists humanitarian partners transporting staff and cargo including PPE, around the world. Photo: WFP/Alice Rahmoun

COVID-19 has impacted transport systems like never before. The global connectedness we’ve come to rely on to move people and goods around the world ground to a halt as governments raced to stop its spread.

WFP stepped up to help. With thousands of tons of health and humanitarian cargo and over 25,000 passengers now transported, below four WFP staff recall how they dealt with the onset of the coronavirus crisis.

World Food Programme and Unicef collaborate to assist vulnerable communities

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Vanessa, a 9-year-old student, enjoys a meal at the Batep’a school after schools reopened in São Tomé and Príncipe. Photo: WFP/Jorcilina de Almeida Correia

By Alessandro Valori

“Each day, I share a meal with my students to foster a sense of community, and seeing them smile makes me very happy,” says Paul Jorge, the Director of the school of Batep’a, in São Tomé and Príncipe, Africa’s second smallest country — an island nation inhabited by just over 215,000 people.

“I tell them how the food arrived on their plates, and how the kitchen helpers have prepared their meal with the best ingredients available. Like education, nutrition is a social process. It’s development. It’s our life.”

The islands of São Tomé and Príncipe sit in the Gulf of Guinea off the continent’s western coast and are as prone to climate shocks and the ravages of COVID-19 as countries on the mainland. …

Food assistance and partnership help people overcome the most testing times

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MAKING THE JOURNEY EASIER . . . Memory Nchihindo and Elizabeth Mazambani from Sauyemwa village, in Zambezi Region support each other on their ‘HIV journey’. Photo: WFP/Nomhle Kangootui

By Nomhle Kangootui

Memory Nchihindo, a mother of three, has been living with HIV for the past ten years.

“I was in a very dark place when I was first diagnosed and thought my life was over,” she says. “I was stressed and confused because I didn’t understand what HIV was back then. I was discriminated against, alienated and stigmatized.”

Family and friends’ “negative talk” had left Memory feeling like a failure — it drove her into a deep depression and made her want to give up on life, she tells me.

It’s a typical winter’s morning when I visit her, with a team from the World Food Programme (WFP), in the village of Sauyemwa, northern Namibia’s Zambezi region — WFP has received a generous contribution from USAID/PEPFAR Namibia to provide food and nutrition support to more than 100,000 people on antiretroviral treatment, in the eight regions of the country worst hit by years of consecutive drought and the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS. …

The World Food Programme highlights the role of nutrition for people living with HIV

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The ‘blue box’ clinic in Inchope, Mozambique. Photo: Rafael Campos

Poor nutrition is a huge danger to HIV sufferers — the virus compromises nutritional status, weakening the immune system, which increases their susceptibility to opportunistic infections, such as tuberculosis.

Food insecurity is associated with increased HIV transmission risk behaviours and decreased access to HIV treatment and care.


In 2019, around 38 million people globally had HIV — 1.7 million of them became infected with HIV within the past year.


Every week, more than 5,000 young women between 15–24 years become infected with HIV.


Adolescent girls and young women are increasingly infected by HIV — they make up 10 percent of the total HIV-positive population, but represent 25 percent of new HIV infections.

World Food Programme and partners work together to offer medical support and raise awareness about HIV and AIDS

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WFP works with partners to run the clinic in the community of Inchope. Photo: WFP/Rafael Campos

By Nutrition & HIV team, WFP Mozambique

Three times a week Adelaide Macamo, a community outreach worker for the World Food Programme (WFP), puts on her bright yellow vest, her backpack and the facemask and heads off to the community of Inchope, in Gondola district, along the Beira transport corridor, Mozambique. Her aim is to raise awareness about free services at the roadside wellness clinic, a container-like structure referred to as the ‘blue box’.

“What is important in this role is to build trust,” she says. “I need to speak to people clearly, with patience, to explain the importance of sexual and reproductive health, the benefits of testing for HIV and what services we provide at the clinic to help them decide to come and visit us”. …


World Food Programme

The United Nations World Food Programme works towards a world of Zero Hunger.

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