ROME, ITALY - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed a donation of US$6 million from the Republic of Korea that will allow WFP to enhance innovative food security monitoring systems in ten countries in Africa, enabling the organization to hear directly from people in need. The funding was raised through Korea's air-ticket solidarity levy, which is collected from each international flight passenger departing Korea. Known as the "Global Disease Eradication Fund," it is part of Seoul's commitment to ending global disease, poverty and hunger.
"Thanks to this generous and timely donation from the Republic of Korea, we will be able to regularly and systematically measure the food and nutrition security of the most vulnerable people, which significantly improves the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of humanitarian interventions across Africa," said Arif Husain, WFP's Chief Economist.
The funds will be used over the next two years to scale up WFP's mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (mVAM) initiative, enabling real-time food security and nutrition monitoring of refugees and internally displaced people in Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda.
The mVAM initiative uses mobile phone technology to collect data from conflict zones, remote areas, and in rapidly evolving situations. First piloted in 2013 in Somalia and DRC and successfully deployed during the Ebola emergency response, the approach has now been used in 32 countries where WFP works.
In addition to SMS and live calls, mVAM uses Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and two-way communications systems to collect and share data. Looking to new technologies, mVAM is currently testing new methods of remote data collection, such as online surveys, "chatbots" and Facebook's Free Basics service.
"Korea's generous support will give marginalized populations a greater voice," said Jean-Martin Bauer, who leads mVAM. "For WFP to be able to instantly reach thousands of people, and for them to reach us, to tell us if their needs are being met, is a powerful mechanism for accountability - an opportunity to use data for good."
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
Source: World Food Programme