In 2021, the triple threat of conflict, climate change and socioeconomic consequences of COVID-19 pandemic drove human suffering to a staggering scale. Eastern Africa felt the brunt of such a convergence, leading to an unprecedented number of people in need. With three consecutive below-average rainfall seasons in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, drought is becoming a recurring phenomenon affecting the lives of 9 million across the three countries. The climate shocks being faced by such communities are usually not the only calamities they have to address. Conflict plays a huge role in having Eastern Africa as the host of the largest displaced population in the world. The conflict in Northern Ethiopia has led to 9.8 million people in dire need of food assistance, with 83 percent of people food insecure in Tigray. In South Sudan, the combination of conflict and climate shocks increased the number of severely food insecure people to 7.2 million people in 2021.
Across the region, the number of people categorized as food insecure (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Phase 3 and above) stood at a staggering 60 million. WFP’s Regional Bureau Nairobi (RBN) stepped up to unprecedented challenges, continuing the delivery of live-saving and live-changing interventions throughout the region.
The mounting operational requirement and the urgency of closing the funding gaps, creates a volatile situation that sees a tremendous increase in the severity and scale of food insecurity. In response to these concerns, RBN ramped up its assistance to reach as many people as possible, providing food and nutrition assistance to food-insecure communities; technical support to Governments, including trainings and policy guidance; and provision of logistical services to the wider humanitarian community.
Thanks to the generous contribution of Donors in 2021, over 34 million beneficiaries (of which 53 percent were female and approximately 1 million were people with disabilities) were supported by WFP RBN, compared with 26 million in 2020 and 24 million in 2019.
Supporting the Food Systems work across the region led to game-changing initiatives. Innovative actions were taken in areas of value chain assessments, local pro-smallholder farmer procurement, scaling up work in post-harvest loss and climate resilient agriculture, commodity traceability, and measuring impact of interconnected programme and procurement work on national food systems.
Through RBN’s strong partnerships with Governments, other UN Agencies, International Finance Institutions (IFIs), Academia, Cooperating Partners and Civil Society Groups, we are continuously working to bolster human capital. WFP was able to deliver timely assistance to affected populations, provide strategic, technical, programmatic and operational support to strengthen national and sub-national level capacities, and provide supply chain services to governments and wider humanitarian community. Throughout its operations, WFP adhered to principles of prioritising safety and dignity, avoiding causing harm, meaningful access, accountability, and participation and empowerment.
RBN is prepared to face the new realities of the world. This third edition of the WFP Eastern Africa Regional Achievements celebrates our work and our impact, highlighting WFPs capacities in a wide range of areas, including emergency preparedness and response, food system, gender, nutrition, school-based programming, social protection, supply chain, innovation and digitalization, staff wellness, environment and knowledge management and evidence generation.
Regional Director for the Regional Bureau for Eastern Africa