Project #14733

STOP Global Hunger!

by World Food Program USA

Do you ever wonder how WFP determines which communities worldwide are suffering from chronic hunger—and how best to help them?The answer is an acroynym: VAM, which stands for "Vulnerability and Mapping."

WFP's VAM unit utilizes advanced technology like geographic information systems (GIS) and mobile data-collection platforms like tablets and smartphones to help women like Agnes, a widow and mother of six who lives in a refugee camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Every month Agnes get a call on her mobile phone—contrary to popular belief cell phones are fairly widespread in Africa—from WFP. She's asked questions like:  

  • What has your family eaten today?
  • How recently has your family consumed milk or eggs?
  • Do you have enough money to buy food in the local market near your home?

Her responses are entered into an electronic system that updates in real time. This enables WFP to utilize the most recent information when planning for and providing food or vouchers to women like Agnes.

VAM data is particularly critical in emergency situations from natural disasters to conflict and civil war when movement is challenging, timing is critical and food is scarce.  

In West Africa, for example, VAM staffers have been sending out questionnaires via text message to families affected by the Ebola Virus outbreak. The information collected from these short surveys has been critical in helping WFP understand everything from local rice prices to availability of food and even average wage rates.

In countries where conflict may not be widespread but poverty is, VAM staffers are often called up to do assessments of food availability and market access to determine whether families are at risk, especially pregnant women and young children

Following the global food and economic crises in 2008, WFP created this online food price database to regularly survey about 70 countries and more than 1,000 markets. Information from the database is used in a quarterly report about staple food prices in vulnerable countries.

The market and food price data WFP collects is utilized not only by WFP but also by a multitude of NGOs, UN agencies and governments who use this information to create smart strategies for reaching those most vulnerable.

With the help of a simple cellphone, WFP is delivering hope and preventing hunger in homes across the globe. 

Thank you 2014

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your 2014 support of World Food Program USA (WFP USA). Altogether, the WFP USA community was able to deliver hope to millions of people around the world with life-saving food assistance. And we couldn't have done any of it without you.

Today, we're sharing some of our biggest moments in 2014 and showing you the tremendous impact you've had in giving families, refugees and children the hope of a future without hunger. Here are some of the people you helped WFP reach in 2014:

You helped Syrians

The Syria crisis is WFP's largest and most complex challenge, stretching resources thin and forcing WFP to cut its food voucher assistance program to refugees in December. But, with the help of the American people, WFP was able to save the voucher program while continuing to support families displaced inside Syria.

School meals

One of the most effective ways to solve global hunger is also one of the simplest: a school meal. We were inspired to learn what a hunger-free future looks like for children in 27 countries who receive daily school meals from WFP, and you'll be moved by their artwork too

You helped people in the Philippines

When Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines in November 2013, WFP was among the first organizations providing emergency relief. Over a year later, WFP remains in the Philippines, helping transition communities from recovery to resilience. Read our account on the past year from Praveen Agrawal, WFP's country director for the Philippines. 

You helped people in emergencies

Right now the world is facing an unprecedented number of emergencies, and WFP USA supporters have helped provide emergency relief for families impacted by the Ebola outbreak and in the humanitarian disaster in the Central African Republic. While we still have a long way to go, we are making a difference in the lives of people who have lost everything. We will never give up hope.

We couldn't do any of this without you. Together we can make hunger history. Thank you!


World Food Program USA

P.S. For the latest updates on some of the people WFP is reaching, you can visit throughout 2015.


WFP and Education
WFP and Education

How do you teach students in Kansas about the chronic hunger that plagues their peers in Kenya?

Teachers can start with official Classroom Lesson Plans designed by WFP. Developed in partnership with the Alabama 4-H Program, Auburn University, the Cape Breton University Children's Rights Centre and the Canadian International Development Agency, these lesson plans offer a wide variety of approaches tailored to specific age groups.

For students in Grades 4-6, for example, one activity utilizes the image of a tree to help them understand the many roots of hunger through critical thinking, visualization and collaborative learning.

Junior high students, on the other hand, can create a mock U.N. conference that addresses child malnutrition and how it relates to children's rights, based on their study of the Millennium Development Goals and of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Teachers can also utilize our True/False pop quiz, What Do You Know About Hunger?, which challenges commonly held myths about poverty and nutrition.

But first, let’s begin with the basics:

Q: What is hunger?

A: The sensation of hunger—a lack of food in your stomach—is universal. But there are different types of hunger that are measured in different ways:

Under-nourishment is used to describe a condition where one’s food intake lacks enough calories (energy) to meet minimum needs for an active life.

Malnutrition is characterized by inadequate consumption of protein, energy and micronutrients and by frequent infections and diseases. Malnutrition is measured not by how much food is eaten, but by physical measurements of the body—weight, height and age.

Wasting is an indicator of acute malnutrition that reflects a recent and severe process that has led to substantial weight loss. This is usually the result of starvation and/or disease.

There are more than 800 million undernourished people in the world, which means 1 in 9 people will go to bed hungry tonight.


Q: Why does hunger exist? Is there a food shortage in the world?

There is enough food in the world for everyone to have the nourishment necessary for a healthy and productive life. Each year, 1.3 billion tons of food goes to waste—about of all food produced for human consumption.

Hunger is not about a shortage of food, it’s about power, inequality and access to resources. Hunger feeds on poverty, conflict and natural disaster.

Global hunger is one of the greatest solvable problems of our time. Each year, hunger kills more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

By educating the next generation of humanitarian heroes in the classroom, teachers in the U.S. can help create a brighter future for everyone.  


The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide.

WFP's Key Achievements in 2013

  • 80.9 million people reached with food assistance in 75 countries
  • Undernutrition was reduced or stabilized for 7.2 million children under the age of 5
  • Levels of acute malnutrition stabilized or fell in 90 percent of projects
  • Household or community resilience was increased due to restoration or building of assets in 24 countries
  • National capacity food security, disaster preparedness, school feeding and nutrition was increased in 15 countries
  • The average lead time of 106 days to procure and move food to recipient countries was reduced by 71 percent


  • 67.9 million women
  • 4.2 million refugees
  • 8.9 million internally displaced people
  • .5 million returnees
  • 7.8 million children are receiving sepcialized nutritional support
  • 18.6 million children receiving school meals or take home rations
  • 15.1 million people receiving WFP food as an incentive to build assets
  • 7.9 million people receiving assistance in the form of cash and/or vouchers in programmes and countries making up14 percent of WFP’s work

3.1 million metric tons of food were distributed


WFP’s ultimate goal is to help communities move from food assistance to self-sufficiency

Through programs like Food For Assets, WFP provides food in exchange for work on vital infrastructure projects
like water reservoirs and irrigation systems that build resilience against future food shortages.

Take, for example, Halwo lives in Somalia. In 2011, Halwo and her neighbors were devastated by a drought that forced them to trek nearly 6 miles every day to fetch water. It was not uncommon for women to be attacked on the long journey alone. But by supporting Halwo‘s community with food aid in exchange for work on a new water reservoir, WFP and a local partner called Alliance Organization Aid have enhanced the community’s resilience against future droughts. Today, the water reservoir, known as the Dawaacale pan, provides enough water for 3,000 people and their livestock. In fact, plans are already underway to expand the reservoir’s capacity so it can serve an even greater number and help the community become self-sufficient. “It is really a blessing for us,” Halwo says.

Because half of the world’s hungry people are small-scale farmers, WFP is also leveraging its power as one of the world’s major food buyers by purchasing from local farmers whenever possible. The program— called Purchase for Progress— offers small-scale farmers a reliable buyer and a fair price for their crops, as well as technical assistance and support. Since the program’s inception in 2008, WFP has contracted $145 million worth of food from small-scale farmers. By raising farmers’ incomes and expanding local markets, Purchase for Progress drives agricultural growth in 20 of the world’s poorest countries and empowers communities in the fight against chronic hunger.

More than 90% of WFP’s 13,500 employees are based in the field, where they coordinate relief efforts, monitor progress and help communities achieve self-sufficiency


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Organization Information

World Food Program USA

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Project Leader:
Erin Wiegert
Washington, DC United States