• Thanks to cooperating partners, in November, WFP assisted more than 480,000 food insecure non-refugees in Gaza and the West Bank through both cash-based transfers (CBT), using an electronic voucher redeemable in local shops, and direct food assistance. Of those assisted, 336,000 women and children benefited from WFP's assistance (70 percent).
• Funding limitations obliged WFP to reduce the voucher value from USD 10.3 to USD 8, and halve the food entitlements of 160,000 people in Gaza. WFP needs USD 4.5 million in December to revert to the planned full entitlement.
Under its 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 socioeconomic 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.
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, WFP has invested more than USD 215 million in the Palestinian economy, including USD 135 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 modality in the Middle-East. The platform has since been upgraded, taking advantage of new technologically-advanced systems and processes to allow for rapid scale-up, real-time payment and monitoring. 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 organizations to deliver assistance through the same card. During the 2014 Gaza war, WFP was able to reach 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 same CBT platform and WFP One Card. CBTs are also effectively used in recovery contexts: since the war, WFP continued to partner with UNICEF and teamed-up and/or lent its CBT technology to Oxfam, Help Age and Medecins du Monde. 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 households led by women. To strengthen the nutritional impact of its CBTs, WFP together with OXFAM, UNICEF and local NGO Ard El-Insan run a nutrition awareness campaign aimed at 2,500 women and 1,000 men receiving CBTs in Gaza. 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 situation is particularly alarming for female adolescents in Gaza, where 72 and 64 percent of them suffer from Vitamin D and Vitamin A deficiencies respectively. The sessions have a long-term positive impact on levels of nutritional and dietary knowledge and healthy cooking habits among participants. They give women the opportunity to interact and socialize with each other outside their normal domestic sphere, leading to strengthened informal women's networks. Since 2011, 4,850 women and their families have benefitted from the training.
• In November, WFP assisted 481,294 poor and food insecure people: 244,740 people in Gaza and 236,554 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.
• WFP's November Executive Board approved the one-year extension of the Palestine PRRO in support to half a million poor and food insecure Palestinians, for an additional cost of USD 58 million. The extension focuses on expanding nutrition education and CBTs, prioritising people with high vulnerability, including households led by women, Palestinians in Gaza and Area C of the West Bank, whilst contributing to sustainable strategic and institutional development.
• WFP is conducting a beneficiary needs assessment in the West Bank to review the eligibility of current food assistance recipients and reach additional vulnerable poor and food insecure people. The results, which are expected during the first quarter of 2017, will help WFP shape its 2018-2022 Country Strategic Plan.
• New WFP monitoring findings showed that the proportion of households with acceptable food consumption score (FCS) among those receiving vouchers has increased from 72 percent in 2013 to 82 percent in 2016, while that of in-kind food recipients with acceptable FCS has increased from 55 percent to 61 percent. Vouchers were also found to have a positive effect on the local economy, reflected by an increase in WFP participating shops, dairy farmers' and dairy processors' sales and investments.
• Recognising the multi-layered effect of its voucher assistance, WFP is preparing to provide voucher assistance to an additional 10,000 people as of 01 December 2016. Through WFP's voucher platform, the number of people receiving CBTs will increase from the project's initial 50,000 recipients in 2009, to close to 190,000 in late 2016. This marks an increase of 280 percent.
• In Gaza, WFP is participating in joint emergency preparedness activities with other agencies such as UNDP, OCHA, and local partners that, among other objectives, will set up an inter-agency emergency operations centre and train public shelter managers on nutrition and vulnerability data collection/food security assessment in emergencies.
• Deterioration of the security and socio-economic situation in Palestine, and potential sudden onset of natural disasters, continues to pose major risks that could increase food insecurity and the number of people requiring assistance.
• Reduced funding is hampering WFP's ability to operate and meet the immediate food needs of a highly-vulnerable population. WFP relief operation is currently funded at 57% only. Additional funding is required to build on achievements and prevent a deterioration in the food security and nutrition status of the poorest Palestinian people.
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 is mostly due to a lack of economic access: food prices are mainly driven by Israel and out of reach for many poor households - the GDP per capita in Palestine (USD 4,700) is six times less than that of Israel (USD 30,000).
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 is food insecure, and one in three is severely affected. 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 food security and livelihood status, and prevents negative coping mechanisms.
WFP targets 600,000 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.
WFP has been present in Palestine since 1991.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) Country Director: Daniela Owen Further information: www.wfo.oro/countries/oalestine