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Source: World Food Programme (WFP)
24 May 2017



Highlights

WFP assisted nearly 480,000 food insecure non-refugees in Gaza and the West Bank in April, through both cash-based transfers (CBT) - using an electronic voucher redeemable in local shops - and in-kind food assistance. Women and children accounted for 70 percent of those assisted.
WFP is very concerned about the forthcoming interruption of food assistance in Gaza, foreseen as early as July, at a time of growing humanitarian needs. The continuation of food assistance, especially after the end of Ramadan where people's vulnerabilities are at their highest, remains of utmost importance to support people's eroded livelihoods and preserve the fragile stability of the Gaza Strip.

The Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) 200709, with an approved budget of USD 210 million over 2015-2017, WFP has three objectives: 1) meeting urgent food needs and enhancing the food consumption and dietary diversity of the most vulnerable non-refugee populations; 2) supporting livelihoods, fostering early recovery and enhancing the resilience and coping mechanisms of fragile communities in the face of socio-economic hardships; 3) supporting the Palestinian authority's capacity to deliver cost-effective and protective national safety nets, and strengthening its readiness to respond to external shocks, in collaboration with United Nations agencies.

The Palestinian Authority is WFP's primary partner in Palestine. WFP supports the Ministry of Social Development in the development and delivery of an integrated and needs-based National Food Safety net, reaching 214,000 people with in-kind food and CBT assistance. WFP also provides technical support towards programme design, beneficiary targeting, monitoring and evaluation. WFP works in partnership with the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics on food security analysis, needs assessments and multi-stakeholder coordination which takes place in the framework of the Food Security Sector, gathering more than 40 organisations.

WFP links its food assistance to local production and uses its purchasing power to foster agricultural development and connect small-scale producers, food-processors, retailers and consumers. Since 2011 and to date, WFP has invested more than USD 230 million in the Palestinian economy, including USD 150 million through CBTs. Approximately 96 percent of WFP food items available through CBTs are produced and/or processed locally.

In 2009, WFP Palestine pioneered the first CBT assistance modality in the Middle-East. The platform has since been upgraded, taking advantage of new technologically-advanced systems and processes. WFP's CBT platform allows for a flexible, rapidly-scalable and multi-stakeholder humanitarian response in times of crisis, fostering aid complementarity, cost-effectiveness and impact.

Use of an "electronic wallet" made it possible for other organisations to deliver assistance through the same card. During the 2014 Gaza war, WFP reached more than 300,000 people in less than two weeks with CBTs, including 84,000 who received complementary water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) assistance from UNICEF through the WFP card. CBTs are also effectively used in recovery contexts; since the war, WFP continued to partner with UNICEF and teamed-up and/or shared its CBT technology to Oxfam, Help Age and Medecins du Monde in Gaza. In the West Bank, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has been using WFP's voucher platform to deliver its food assistance to 47,000 refugees since 2015.

WFP's activities in Palestine promote and support women's empowerment and gender equality in all its interventions. Food distribution points and partner retailers are easily accessible for women and are located in areas close to women-headed households. To strengthen the nutritional impact of its CBTs, WFP together with the local NGO Ard El-Insan and UNICEF run nutrition education classes to 5,700 voucher recipients, in majority women. Interactive sessions have been instrumental to strengthen women's role as autonomous decision-makers and promote a common understanding of the importance of a healthy diet. The programme is critical as 50 percent of the population suffers from more than one micronutrient deficiency. The sessions have a long-term positive impact on levels of nutritional and dietary knowledge and healthy cooking habits among participants. Since 2011, more than 8,000 women and their families have benefitted from the training.

Main Credit: WFP/ Eman Mohammed

Photo Caption: Sahar and her daughter Farah visit "al-Sa' adeh" shop in their West Bank village of Al-Ubeidiyeh to purchase with their WFP card locally produced food. WFP electronic voucher programme does not only provide food to vulnerable Palestinians but also supports local small-medium business, including shops and food producers and processors

Operational Updates

In April, WFP assisted 478,987 poor and food insecure people: 245,505 people in Gaza and 233,482 people in the West Bank with food and CBTs. Approximately 214,000 (45 percent) were assisted in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development under the Palestinian Authority's Social Protection System (food safety net).

• In the area C of the West Bank, all of the 183 Bedouin and herding communities - with which WFP and UNRWA jointly assist with food assistance — have received at least one order for demolition, increasing the likelihood for forced displacement. WFP provides emergency food assistance to families whose houses have been demolished as part of a UN multi-sectoral response led by OCHA. In April, WFP assisted 56 people (8 families) with emergency vouchers for a total value of USD 780.

• WFP, with the support of its local partner Ard El Insan, completed the training 150 government staff on IDP nutrition needs in emergencies in Gaza. These staff will be responsible for the management of designated emergency shelters in times of emergencies.

• As part of the preparedness projects in support of the Palestinian Civil Defense (PCD), WFP has completed the setup of three Emergency Operations Rooms and three Emergency Coordination Rooms in the Governorates of Ramallah, Hebron and Qalqiliya. The PCD centres in these three Governorates now have the capacity to better coordinate their emergency response search and rescue operations for small, medium or large scale disasters within PCD or externally with local and international partners for a faster emergency response.

• WFP is currently engaged in the formulation of its new five-year Country Strategic Plan (2018-2022) based on the findings and recommendations of the "National Strategic Review of Food and Nutrition Security in Palestine" commissioned by WFP to the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute. Under its new portfolio approach, WFP will target and prioritise assistance to all severely food insecure non-refugee populations in Gaza and the West Bank, Bedouins and herding communities in area C of the West Bank. And should funding allows, the CSP can assist the most vulnerable of the moderately food-insecure female-headed households across Palestine. WFP's interventions will continue to be fully aligned with the Palestinian Authority's National Policy Agenda and the new Social Development Sector Strategy, covering the period 2017-2022.

Challenges

• Due to lack of sufficient funding, if no additional resources are secured, WFP will cease its voucher assistance in July, to 149, 000 people in both Gaza (92,000) and the West Bank (57,000), and reduce the in-kind food entitlements of another 69,000 people in Gaza over July-September.
WFP is very concerned about the interruption of food assistance in Gaza at a time of growing political tensions, and when critical basic services are no longer available as a result of the recent shutdown of Gaza's sole power plant. WFP is of urgent need of USD 5.5 million to provide food and voucher assistance to 161,000 people assisted in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development (89,000 people) and Global Communities (72,000) from July to September.

Country Background & Strategy

Decades of occupation coupled with severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods have undermined the living conditions and reduced access to livelihoods for Palestinians. Food insecurity in Palestine is driven by limited economic access to food, arising from restrictions of movement, trade and investment, and high unemployment rates. Food prices are driven by Israel, where people's average purchasing power per person is six times higher than in Palestine, and therefore too high for poor families to afford.

The impact of the 2014 conflict in Gaza continues to be devastating to the Palestinian people and economy. Against this backdrop, more than 27 percent of the population — or 1.6 million people —suffers from food insecurity. In Gaza, one in two people are food insecure, and one in three is severely affected by food insecurity. As poor and vulnerable Palestinians spend more than half of their income on food, WFP's assistance is critical to meet their food needs. This prevents further deteriorations in their food security and livelihood status, and prevents them from engaging in negative coping mechanisms, such as selling their assets.

WFP targets nearly 500,000 of the most vulnerable, food insecure non-refugees in Palestine who have been affected by the ongoing conflict and occupation, a fiscal crisis and a steady decline in living standards. PRRO 200709 combines ongoing operations in the West Bank and Gaza to coherently address urgent humanitarian needs in Palestine, while supporting early recovery and sustainable, long term food security for non-refugees.


Partnerships

Supporting enhanced food security is a task shared by WFP, the Palestinian Authority, UNRWA and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) with close links to activities of UNICEF and other partners. WFP works closely with the Government, NGOs (Global Communities, Ard El Insan) and United Nations partners (UNRWA) to successfully deliver food and cash-based assistance in Gaza and the West Bank. WFP co-leads, together with FAO, the Food Security Sector which aims to strengthen food security analysis and response, and link humanitarian and development interventions for the Palestinian Authority.
Donors

WFP is grateful for the unwavering support of its longstanding partners, namely: Belgium, Canada, ECHO, France, Italy, Japan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Norway, OCHA, Russian Federation, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA, multilateral donors.

Contact info: Raphael du Boispean (raphael.duboispean@wfp.org) Country Director: Daniela Owen Further information: www.wfp.org/countries/palestine

http://documents.wfp.org/stellent/groups/public/documents/ep/wfp274588.pdf?_ga=2.33968737.1190232417.1495650892-427906293.1460988163


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