Iceland and Norway help WFP mount response as hunger peaks in Malawi

WFP Malawi
Children happily waiting to be served breakfast – Copyright: WFP Malawi / Francis Thawani

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a total US$ 4.1 million contribution from the Government of Iceland and the Government of Norway to support thousands of people facing severe hunger at the peak of the lean season in Malawi.

The joint contribution – comprised of US$3.6 million from Norway and US$500,000 from Iceland – will provide critical humanitarian assistance to some 270,000 people through cash-based transfers in the districts of Balaka and Chikwawa where smallholder farmers have been heavily affected by climate shocks and rising food prices.

Food security

Tea workers cut tea leaves in Eldorodo tea plantation, Malawi
Tea workers cut tea leaves in Eldorodo tea plantation, Malawi, image courtesy of Ethical Tea Partnership

“We commend the Governments of Norway and Iceland for their strong commitment to ensuring the food security of the most vulnerable during this exceptionally difficult lean season,” says Paul Turnbull, WFP’s Country Director in Malawi. “As world leaders and experts meet at COP27 in Egypt, we must highlight the urgent need to help communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis and invest in durable solutions.”

Some 3.8 million people are estimated to be acutely food insecure and in need of food assistance between October 2022 and March 2023 according to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report – over 130 percent increase compared to the same time last year. Malawi has been heavily impacted by the global food crisis where the devastating effects of natural disasters have been exacerbated by rising prices of food, energy and fertilisers caused in part by the conflict in Ukraine.

A more resilient Malawi

Iceland Malawi WFP
Photo: WFP/ Badre Bahaji

Norway reiterates its commitment to a more food secure and resilient Malawi,” says Her Excellency Ingrid Marie Mikelsen, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to the Republic of Malawi. “Norway recognises the long-standing expertise of WFP and other players to provide essential and opportune assistance in times like these to ensure more people do not slip into hunger.”

Coordinated interventions will ensure the most effective and wide-reaching response possible thanks to resources mobilised both by the Government of Malawi, humanitarian and development partners.

“Iceland remains steadfast in its support to vulnerable Malawians at risk of hunger,” said Inga Dóra Pétursdóttir, Head of Mission of the Embassy of Iceland in Malawi. “The increasing risk of climatic shocks worsens a vicious cycle of food insecurity, which is why Iceland partnered with WFP to help vulnerable families to mitigate and manage the impacts of these shocks.”

The Government of Malawi is grateful to Norway and Iceland for their generous contribution to the 2022-2023 lean season response,” said Charles Kalemba, Commissioner of the Department of Disaster Management Affairs. Their support will ensure less Malawians go hungry and that Malawi can remain focused on its development goals.”

Common values

WFP Malawi
WFP is providing cash assistance to people in urban areas who are suffering from the economic effects of COVID-19 pandemic. Photo:© WFP

The cooperation between the Nordic nations is not only based on political history and geographical location, but also on common values ​​such as democracy, trust, transparency, equality, equity and sustainability. Both Iceland and Norway have provided catalytic funding to WFP school feeding in Malawi and were the first supporters of the home-grown school feeding model that began in 2014.

Norway currently provides direct financial support to WFP’s home-grown school feeding in addition to supporting the UN Joint Programme on Girls Education, a US$ 40 million programme implemented jointly by WFP, UNICEF and UNFPA. Norway was also a key supporter of WFP activities during the COVID-19 Urban Cash Initiative (CUCI) response in 2020.

Since 2014 Iceland has supported WFP school feeding activities in Mangochi and, more recently, has expanded support to include and resilience-building activities in the same district. Additionally, Iceland supported WFP activities linked to the national COVID-19 response as well as provided support to flood victims in Chikwawa district earlier this year.

(Source: Relief web)