US Donates $37M for WFP's Food Aid to Vulnerable Kenyan Refugees

NAIROBI - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a contribution of US$37 million from the United States Government to provide critical food and nutrition assistance to refugees in Kenya. This contribution will enable WFP to increase rations for vulnerable refugees and resume cash transfers in Dadaab and Kakuma until December 2024.

WFP in collaboration with the Government and the UN Agency for Refugees has also started shifting from providing refugees with homogeneous support to a 'needs-based' approach. In this approach, WFP will provide food assistance based on the food security and socio-economic status of each family. Currently, 650,000 refugees supported by WFP receive the same level of food assistance.

"Providing assistance according to levels of need ensures that the most vulnerable are prioritised based on available resources, while weaning the least vulnerable off humanitarian assistance and supporting them to become self-reliant instead," says Lauren Landis, WFP's Country Director in Kenya.

The new funding from the United States Government comes at a time when chronic funding shortfalls have forced a reduction in food rations over time, reaching an unprecedented low of 40 percent and a temporary stoppage of cash transfers to 580,000 refugees living in Dadaab and Kakuma camps since May 2024. In recent months, refugees in Kenya have also fallen victim to the climate crisis, with droughts and floods destroying the little they have. Kenya has experienced a 60 percent increase in the population of refugees and asylum seekers since 2019.

"Refugee families have had a very difficult past two months - surviving on less than half of the minimum food required for a healthy life," says Landis. With support from the United States Government, WFP will increase this amount to 60 percent of the minimum ration and resume Bamba Chakula cash transfers in Dadaab and Kakuma. This will avail more food to the families, uplift the local markets, and increase availability and accessibility of diverse diets."

WFP's shift to 'needs-based' assistance strongly promotes self-reliance of the refugees. It is part of the broader refugee operations transition agenda, and complements the Government's policy to transform refugee camps into integrated settlements. The shift recognizes that refugees are important actors in Kenya's socio-economic development, who when supported, can participate in and contribute to the country's economic growth.

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