Djibouti is the least developed and most food deficit country in the Horn of Africa. The country has some of the worst social indicators in the world – 42 percent of the population live in absolute poverty with peaks of 83 percent among those living in rural areas.
The climate is hot and dry, desert-like arid. Rain scarcity hinders agricultural production, which accounts for only 3 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). To compensate the gap, Djibouti imports 90 percent of its food commodities, which makes it highly dependent on international market prices. Any variation in the international prices has a considerable impact on the poorest segment of the population, who spend 77 percent of their household budget on food.
This translates into high rates of malnutrition, which affects 29.7 percent of children under five, with 17.8 percent of the same age group suffering from wasting.
WFP has been in Djibouti since 1978. As well as assisting refugees and combating malnutrition, our operations aim to support the Government to consider and implement a viable, nationally-owned school-feeding program, and enhance capacity building of government partners in the areas of food security and crisis prevention.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Djibouti
Assistance to refugees
WFP provides monthly in-kind or mixed cash-food assistance to registered refugees and asylum seekers in camps, most refugees have limited or no income, and therefore rely almost exclusively on food assistance. The most vulnerable are also helped via nutrition programs such as the treatment of acute malnutrition and the prevention of chronic malnutrition. Refugee girls receive a take-home ration to encourage school enrolment and attendance.
WFP provides food assistance to rural and urban food-insecure families affected by drought through in-kind and cash-based transfers.
WFP works to prevent acute and chronic malnutrition and treat moderate acute malnutrition. WFP also provides food to people living with HIV (PLHIV) and those undergoing treatment for tuberculosis (TB) to promote good nutrition and health, and ease the side effects of medication.
In addition, WFP supports asset creation activities as part of building the resilience of affected communities. To meet the challenges of the scarcity of rural water and water and soil conservation, working with the Ministry of Agriculture WFP focuses on the mobilization of surface water, land management and capacity building, including strengthening community development.
School meals in targeted rural pre, primary and middle schools combine WFP internationally-purchased commodities and fresh food purchased locally with complementary funds allocated by the Government. A take-home ration of oil is provided to families of school girls as an incentive to keep them in school through the 9th grade. WFP is supporting the capacity of the Government towards the establishment of a sustainable national school feeding programme
Humanitarian logistics hub
Djibouti is a crucial hub for the handling of food commodities destined for Ethiopia, Somalia, South Soudan and Yemen. WFP Djibouti plays an important support role to humanitarian operations in these four neighbouring countries.