July 08, 2012
VIENTIANE - Today the Government of Japan officially announced a contribution of US$1 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to support the Lao Government’s fight against malnutrition.
“The Japanese contribution will help WFP give children in remote areas a better start in life by helping ensure they have the nutrition they need in the critical first 1,000 days of life between conception and two years of age,” said Emmanuel Tusiime, Officer in Charge at WFP Representative and Country Director in Lao PDR. “WFP will also be able to support communities to create assets such as gardens and irrigation systems, and help farmers improve and sell their produce so they can better support their families.”
The Japanese donation will be used to expand WFP’s Mother and Child Health and Nutrition programme to reach 2,400 women and 7,000 small children in Sekong province for a period of six months. Pregnant and breastfeeding women and their children aged between 6-23 months will receive specialised nutrition products that help ensure the children receive the nutrients they need for their brains and bodies to grow strong and healthy.
WFP will train provincial and district officials, health centre staff and village health volunteers to implement and monitor the programme, and to ensure that basic nutrition principles are understood and transferred to all participants.
“I am sure this contribution will help Lao PDR in the achievement of three Millennium Development Goals, namely the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, MDG1, the reduction of child mortality, MDG4, and the improvement of maternal health, MDG5,” said Ambassador of Japan to Lao PDR Junko Yokota. “Improving support for children and mothers as well as for farmers are priority areas in Japan’s ODA policy towards Lao PDR. Our assistance in this area will continue to be extended bilaterally and multilaterally.”
Japan’s assistance will also help WFP kick-start Purchase for Progress (P4P) activities in Lao PDR. This new and innovative programme connects farmers to markets by helping them improve the quality and quantity of their crop, and to secure more profitable access to markets. Through nutrition education, farmers will be empowered to use their increased income to improve the nutrition of their families. Millers and sm allholders will be trained in farming techniques and land preparation; quality control, storage and post-harvest management; and basic management skills.
Furthermore, WFP will support 2,500 people in remote and food-insecure communities to create assets that improve their access to food. Participants in these community-led food-for-work and cash-for-asset schemes will receive either food rations or – if well-stocked markets exist nearby – cash, in return for their work on projects designed to increase resilience and long-term food security.
WFP aims to help Lao PDR become free from undernutrition and its debilitating impact on human potential and national development, by working with partners in the Health, Education and Agriculture sectors to address the full range of factors affecting under-nutrition.
The Government of Japan has supported Lao PDR for many decades. It has notably supported WFP’s fight against food insecurity and malnutrition by contributing more than US$5 million since 2000 to WFP-assisted programmes in the forms of 6,800 metric tons of rice, 270 metric tons of canned fish, and 70 metric tons of supplementary foods.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year, on average, WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries. In 2011, WFP Lao PDR provided 8,800 tons of food to more than 610,000 people throughout the country.