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The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food aid branch of the United Nations, and the world's largest humanitarian agency. WFP provides food, on average, to 90 million people per year, 58 million of whom are children. From its headquarters in Rome and more than 80 country offices around the world, WFP works to help people who are unable to produce or obtain enough food for themselves and their families.
Overview The WFP was first conceived at the 1961 Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Conference, when George McGovern, director of the US Food for Peace Programmes, proposed establishing a multilateral food aid programme. WFP was formally established in 1963 by the FAO and the United Nations General Assembly on a three-year experimental basis. In 1965, the programme was extended to a continuing basis.
OrganizationThe WFP is governed by the WFP Executive Board which consists of 36 member states. Josette Sheeran is the current Executive Director, appointed jointly by the UN Secretary General and the Director-General of the FAO for a five-year term. She heads the Secretariat of WFP.[http://www.wfp.org/aboutwfp/how_run/index.asp?section=1&sub_section=3] WFP has a staff of 10,587 people (2006) with 92% operating in the field.[http://www.wfp.org/aboutwfp/facts/2005/index.asp?section=1&sub_section=5]
Goals and strategiesWFP strives to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, with the ultimate goal in mind of eliminating the need for food aid itself.The core strategies behind WFP activities, according to its mission statement, are to provide food aid to:
# save lives in refugee and other emergency situations;
# improve the nutrition and quality of life of the most vulnerable people at critical times in their lives; and
# help build assets and promote the self-reliance of poor people and communities, particularly through labour-intensive works programmes.
Activities In 2006, WFP distributed 4 million metric tons of food to 87.8 million people in 78 countries; 63.4 million beneficiares were aided in emergency operations, including victims of conflict, natural disasters and economic failure in countries like Kenya, Lebanon, and Sudan. Direct expenditures reached US$2.9 billion, with the most money being spent on Emergency Operations and Immediate Response Account. WFP’s largest country operation in 2006 was Sudan, where the Programme reached 6.4 million people. The second and third largest WFP operations were, respectively, Ethiopia and Kenya. In 2007, WFP's Sudan operation will require some US$ 685 million to provide food assistance to 5.5 million people (2.8 million in Darfur alone). WFP focuses much of its aid on women and children, with the goal of ending child hunger. In 2005, food assistance was provided to 58.2 million children, 30 percent of whom were under five. In 2006, WFP assisted 58.8 million hungry children. School-feeding and/or take home ration programmes in 71 countries help students focus on their studies and encourage parents to send their children, especially girls, to school.Not all food aid is international. Sometimes the World Food Program with the help of numerous NGOs organizes food distribution within a country.
MyanmarDuring the 2007 Burmese anti-government protests the United Nations reported that food shipments out of Mandalay Division to half a million people in the northern districts was being disrupted. This problem added the shortage of funding over its three year operation and the poverty caused by the government's eradication of opium farming. Military cooperation with the food shipments was quickly resumed.:see also "where we work" by WFP
Funding WFP operations are funded by donations from world governments, corporations and private donors. In 2006 the Programme received $2.9 billion in contributions. All donations are completely voluntary. The organization’s administrative costs are only seven percent—one of the lowest and best among aid agencies. On 6 November 2006 Josette Sheeran was appointed to replace James T. Morris as Executive Director of WFP by the Secretary-General of the UN and Director-General of FAO in April 2007. Previously, Sheeran served as the Under Secretary for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs United States Department of State and as the managing editor of the Washington Times.
Official partners WFP co-ordinates and co-operates with a number of official partners in emergencies and development projects. These partners include national government agencies such as DFID, ECHO, EUROPEAID, USAID; UN agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); non-governmental organizations such as Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services and Norwegian Refugee Council; as well as corporate partners such as TNT, Citigroup, the Japan Ad Council and the Boston Consulting Group.[http://www.wfp.org/aboutwfp/partners/index.asp?section=1&sub_section=4]
Grassroots efforts In 2004, the WFP tasked Auburn University with heading the first student-led War on Hunger effort. Auburn founded the Committee of 19, which has not only led campus and community hunger awareness events but also developed a War on Hunger model for use on campuses across the country.WFP has launched a global advocacy and fundraising event called Walk the World. On one single day each year, hundreds of thousands of people in every time zone all over the world walk to call for the end of child hunger. In 2005, more than 200,000 people walked in 296 locations. In 2006 there were 760,000 participants in 118 countries all over the world. This event is part of the campaign to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, specifically to halve the number of people who suffer from hunger and poverty by 2015. In 2006, the Committee of 19 hosted a War on Hunger Summit at which representatives from 29 universities were in attendance. At this summit, the model for a student-led War on Hunger initiative was presented with strong support.
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