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WFP Zambia Country Brief, April 2020

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In Numbers

  • 7,134.7 mt of food assistance distributed - USD 39 m six months (April-September 2020) net funding requirements.

  • 325,850 m people assisted in April 2020

Operational Updates

Following the COVID-19 outbreak and the containment measures undertaken by the Government of Zambia, WFP is ensuring that its activities continue by putting in place preventative measures for the assisted people, and WFP and cooperative partners’ staff. These measures include implementing two-month rations to reduce the frequency of food distributions, spacing out distributions to avoid congestion, installing handwashing facilities, and providing protective equipment for staff such as face masks and gloves.

With support from United Nations agencies and other stakeholders, the Government has articulated strategies to respond to the emergency outbreak in its National MultiSectoral COVID-19 Contingency and Response Plan. In line with this plan and based on its organizational experience in delivering humanitarian assistance in both urban and rural settings, WFP will respond to food insecurity through cash programming for low-income people in urban and periurban areas, market monitoring and on-demand logistics services for food and non-food items. The implementation of cash transfers for low-income earners is expected to start in May.

Since December, WFP has been supporting the Government in responding to the needs generated by prolonged dry spells during the 2018/2019 farming season, which left about 2.3 million people food-insecure and in need of food assistance. Since the start of the drought response, WFP has delivered over 3,290 mt of governmentsupplied maize meal and over 4,700 mt of WFP-procured beans and peas, reaching some 622,000 people out of the 615,000 planned in the 16 prioritized districts.

In 2020, WFP continues to provide food assistance to some 14,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) who are settled at Mantapala Refugee Settlement in Luapula Province. However, in April, WFP was forced to halve the entitlements for the first time due to funding constraints. Full entitlements will resume as soon as additional funding is secured.

In April, WFP, together with the Ministry of Health, conducted a robust social and behaviour change communication (SBCC) campaign for refugees on the importance of good nutrition and a diverse diet. This approach aims to promote the preparation and consumption of nutritious and healthy food, while also laying the ground for the roll-out of the cash-based transfers for refugees scheduled for May.

Operational Context

Landlocked and with a population of 17.4 million, Zambia achieved lower middle-income status in 2011 following years of impressive economic performance. Yet, more than half of its population still live below the poverty line. The deteriorating economy, coupled with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, threaten government efforts to deliver social services, alleviate poverty, and achieve zero hunger.

In the last decade, the country has suffered from the impacts of climate change, with frequent prolonged dry spells, extreme high temperatures, and floods that have undermined food security and threatened the livelihoods of many smallholder farming households. Smallholders are the country’s largest population of food producers. They are responsible for up to 90 percent of the food produced in Zambia, with women accounting for about 80 percent of it.

Under the Zambia Country Strategic Plan (CSP) 2019–2024, WFP operation encompasses the provision of food assistance to vulnerable and food-insecure people, including through the provision of on-demand logistics support during emergencies.

WFP also supports the livelihoods of smallholders and communities in food-insecure areas, and helps strengthens the capacity of the Government to implement national programmes and systems that contribute to zero hunger and improved nutrition.

WFP has been present in Zambia since 1967, providing food assistance and strengthening the capacity of the Government in addressing people’s food and nutrition needs.