Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A shortfall in food aid in Uganda

Last Year, the UN's World Food Programme announced that because of lack of funding, they had to make some cutbacks on food aid in Uganda. One of the cuts the WFP made was providing food aid to HIV-positive people.

From IRIN, we see the effects of the cuts in food aid, especially among those who have been displaced by the countries civil war that is currently in cease fire.

"We shall only be providing food support to those HIV-positive IDPs who are extremely sick or those whose health condition has relapsed, based on advice from health workers," Bai Mankay Sankoh, head of WFP's Gulu office, told IRIN/PlusNews.

Aceng's family eats one meal a day, usually boiled sorghum with salt, or cassava and beans. "You feel like eating but the food we have can't make you feel satisfied; we have to persevere, knowing that there is nothing or little for tomorrow," she said. "With this kind of life, anytime you can die because the drugs I am taking [antiretrovirals] require good feeding."

Pamela Ayaa, 21, Aceng's oldest child, makes less than US$1 a day at a local construction site. "The needs are too much, my mother is weak and our relatives can't provide much because they are also starting a new life home after 20 years living in an IDP camp," she said.

Primary and secondary school education are free in Uganda, but none of her siblings are in school because they do not have the money to pay for uniforms, exercise books or transport to and from school.

A protracted conflict between the rebel Lord's Resistance Army and the government kept over one million people in often dangerously congested camps, sometimes for more than 20 years, but after a two-year lapse in hostilities and an ongoing peace process, IDPs are being encouraged to leave. According to local officials, about 40 percent have moved to resettlement camps closer to their original villages.

Many returnees have been able to resettle on their farms and resume productive agriculture, and WFP is phasing out general food distribution in the north, but government officials have urged the agency to maintain food aid to the most vulnerable.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think we should be aware that we need to be cautious about the WFP's approach to hunger. This film about Niger is quite revealing on this point:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4SYM8JsDg4African culture is much deeper than what the WFP sometimes realises.