USAID Uganda Mission Director, Leslie Reed

USAID Uganda Mission Director, Leslie Reed

WFP currently provides food assistance to approximately 300,000 refugees living in settlements throughout Uganda, as well as 155,000 people from extremely vulnerable households in Karamoja.

?The WFP food basket for these two groups consists of cereals, pulses, vegetable oil, salt and for some groups, super cereal (fortified corn-soya blend),? a statement from the US embassy in Kampala revealed.

This US contribution under the Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation will enable WFP to provide about eight months of food assistance to more than 440,000 people including over 130,000 South Sudanese refugees who have arrived in Uganda since December 2013.

?This contribution comes at a crucial time when WFP has more beneficiaries to feed with already stretched resources,? WFP acting Country Representative Michael Dunford was quoted as saying. ?It will enable us to ensure refugees and food-insecure people in Karamoja have food at the most critical times of the year.?

With USAID support, WFP has been able to pilot a cash transfer program in the refugee settlement camps.

Dunford noted, ?USAID?s backing of the cash transfer pilot program has been crucial in providing a more dignified transfer to the refugees, benefits the host community by increasing market demand as well as being a more cost effective intervention. With additional planned USAID support, we will be doing a number of assessments this year to inform an appropriate expansion of this pilot to more refugee settlements.?

USAID Uganda Mission Director Leslie Reed explained: ?This donation highlights the U.S. government?s commitment to addressing the humanitarian food and nutrition needs among both refugees and extremely vulnerable households in Uganda.

It is a combination of traditional in-kind food aid and local and regional procurement that directly benefits local Ugandan famers.

Due to recent food aid reforms, USAID?s Office of Food for Peace is able to purchase commodities on the local market, helping both people in need as well as local businesses.?

Besides food assistance, USAID has funded many other projects in Uganda including health, education, environment, agriculture, governance and human rights. USAID?s work is implemented through contracts and grants with firms and organizations who enter into an agreement with USAID to support the achievement of our foreign assistance goals via our overseas development programs.

One such project recently funded by USAID was the $50m (sh150.4b) Northern Uganda Health Integration for Enhanced Services (NUHITES) project which was being implemented through Plan International Uganda. However, USAID terminated the NUHITES project over mismanagement.

On the other hand, WFP has been active in Uganda since 1963 with operations generally focused on how best to use food for humanitarian and development support.

In 2008, however, WFP Uganda adopted a new strategy in line with the organization?s revised and more targeted approach to addressing hunger.

According to the WFP Uganda website, donor funding towards WFP Uganda activities this year is projected at $28.4m (sh85.4b); where multilaterals are expected to contribute $4.7m, US $15.5m, UK $5.7m and Australia $2.3m.

Chris Kiwawulo, The New Vision


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