07 January 2015
ISLAMABAD: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has begun projects to improve livelihoods and reduce communities’ susceptibility to disasters in Tharparkar, Sanghar and Mirpurkhas districts of Sindh, thanks to a grant of US$2.78 million from the government of Australia. Around 13,200 families will receive cash payments for participation in disaster risk reduction activities.
“We are focusing on families bearing the brunt of drought in Tharparkar and Sanghar, as well as flood-affected areas of Mirpurkhas,” said Lola Castro, WFP Pakistan Representative and Country Director. “One of the major factors affecting livelihoods in these areas is inadequate water. This project will see the construction of community assets that will help improve livelihoods and sustainable food security.”
Following assessments to identify the communities’ needs, WFP has identified a series of activities related to water conservation, rain water harvesting, water pond construction in grazing areas, food and fodder storage and repair of culverts and access roads. Each participant will receive PKR 5,400 (about US$53) per month for 15 days of work.
In Mirpurkhas district, WFP is working with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNWOMEN on an integrated programme to assist communities through agri-based and labour-intensive activities. The WFP project will include some 2,000 participants from villages where the other three UN agencies are already working together, in order to support ongoing activities with the cash grants.
“This holistic approach is particularly relevant in areas affected by recurrent shocks,” explained Castro. “In the short-term, the cash payments help people meet their immediate needs, including – crucially – food. In the long run, the assets created in the community will help support livelihoods and improve food security.”
WFP’s work in the area of disaster risk reduction focuses on building the resilience and capacities of the most vulnerable communities by working with local government to ensure food and nutrition security.