EU injects EUR3 million to support vulnerable communities in southern Africa

Staff Writer

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has received a significant boost from the European Union (EU) to continue providing essential nutritional support and services to the most vulnerable urban communities in Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.

A EUR3 million contribution from the EU will help alleviate food insecurity and support the resilience of these communities in the face of climate-related challenges.

The .communities are particularly susceptible to the impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events and droughts, which can disrupt food production and exacerbate hunger.

The contribution will explore viable pathways for WFP, governments and partners to reduce and mitigate the impact of shocks on vulnerable communities living in urban areas.

It aims to understand, identify, and address the various risks faced by these communities, who are disproportionately affected by climate disasters, often resulting in devastating impacts on their livelihoods.

The experience from Covid-19 highlights the inadequate support provided to urban residents by emerging social protection systems in sub-Saharan Africa, especially the urban working poor and informal workers excluded from social assistance and insurance.

Building on the crucial insights gained in its first phase in 2021, the project will work with regional, national, and local authorities to develop guidance from the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

These guidelines will help better prepare for urban responses, aiming to reduce the number of people affected by disasters in urban areas.

Through a multi-sectoral participatory approach, the two-year project endeavors to enhance the capacity of the National Disaster Management Authorities, Social Welfare and Local Governments to improve coordination and collaboration for preparedness and response activities in cities.

“We are grateful for the EU’s support, made through its Humanitarian Aid department,” said Lola Castro, acting regional director for Southern Africa.

“The contribution from the EU will help Governments and WFP to prepare and empower urban communities by strengthening resilience to withstand recurring multiple hazards. This will be done by ensuring emergency readiness and response that address urban dwellers’ essential needs through targeted cash-based transfers, which upholds dignity and promotes their self-reliance.”

Currently, Southern Africa faces an escalation in rates of malnutrition, coupled with widespread food insecurity among the rural and urban population.

This year, more than 30 million people across Southern Africa have been affected by the severe El Niño-induced drought. However, even before the drought, the levels of food insecurity and humanitarian needs were high, driven by socio-economic challenges, high food prices, and the compounding impacts of the climate crisis.

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