The UN World Food Programme (WFP) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) say they have established a system in Rwanda to prioritise general food aid to the most vulnerable refugees.
The UN agencies made this move following funding shortfalls aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Poor rainfall, drought, floods and the limited amount of land that is suitable for agriculture, alongside pests and diseases, continue to pose risks to food security in the landlocked East African country.
Many refugees have been in the country for decades, with limited prospects for repatriation in the immediate future, and rely almost completely on WFP food assistance.
In a statement, the humanitarian agencies noted that this shift is in close collaboration with Rwanda’s Ministry of Emergency Management (MINEMA).
‘To avoid these cuts affecting the most vulnerable refugees, we have established a targeting system that will allow us to prioritise extremely vulnerable refugees who depend entirely on humanitarian assistance and to ensure that their basic needs are met’, UNHCR’s Representative to Rwanda, Ahmed Baba Fall, said in the statement.
‘This is the right step at the right time when donors globally are under greater pressure than ever because of the impact of Covid-19 and growing demands,” WFP Rwanda Representative and Country Director, Edith Heines, added.
‘By targeting, we prioritise funding to the refugees who are most in need of assistance while we work to mobilise more resources and find long-term solutions’.
UNHCR and the authorities in Rwanda, according to the statement, are embarking on a stepped-up livelihoods and economic inclusion strategy that will increase refugee and host community resilience.
‘We are confident that by investing in programmes that promote access to livelihoods and economic opportunities, education enrolment and access to land and financial services, part of the refugee population will be able to improve their livelihoods and support themselves’, Fall added.
Photo source: WFP