The World Food Program (WFP) has put in place measures to mitigate the politicization of foodstuffs by political parties ahead of the 2018 elections, Country Director, Eddie Rowe has said.
Despite concerted efforts by international relief agencies to keep their handouts away from politics, local officials mostly from the ruling Zanu PF have been fingered in various reports of manipulating the processes of registering beneficiaries as well as preventing opposition supporters from receiving food aid.
WFP Country Director, Eddie Rowe told reporters in Harare today that they will be and have been monitoring, with keen interest, how food handouts will be distributed in communities in an effort to guard against hijacking by politicians as has happened in the past.
“While we have heard reports of politicization of foodstuffs, we also have to note that we tend to blow up those reports as they happen on a very small scale and we take that to be happening every time.
“We have what we call the feedback mechanism in which we receive complaints from every person that we assist in the 35 districts that we operate in.in 2017, out of the 4000 complaints we received, only nine were related to this issue. We know it is a big issue but our systems rare working well to mitigate such impacts.
“We have a digital system that is we have right now where only the individual registered to receive the assistance, will be the one to receive it. so the issue regarding the manipulating of registration forms or beneficiary lists, are behind us, those days are gone,” said Rowe.
He noted that they are working with the government to ensure equitable distribution of foodstuffs.
“In Zimbabwe, we were one of the first eight countries to take our new way of working.We knew that as a Country Office, together with the Government of Zimbabwe, we must continue to do our utmost to ensure that the most vulnerable communities receive an integrated package of livelihood support and are at the same time better protected in times of increased uncertainty,” he added.
United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator, Bishow Parajuli chipped in and said although there are chances of this scourge continuing, the newly adopted system is transparent and makes it difficult for manipulation and hijacking to occur
Overall in 2017, WFP assisted more than 1.3 million people. Many of those assisted were part of the relief and recovery operation of the first quarter of the year, including the El Nino response.
In addition, WFP continued to provide Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) treatment to more than 21,000 under-five children through local health clinics in 22 rural districts, in close partnership with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF.
in this program, WFP provides food assistance to Antiretroviral Therapy (HIV and TB care) treatment clients using a clinical care approach consisting of nutrition rehabilitation of malnourished clients complemented with social and behaviour change communication.
The objective of this program is to ensure nutritional recovery of the malnourished client and to restore their productive capacity. Nutrition rehabilitation consists of anthropometric measurements, integrated within a comprehensive nutrition assessment, education and counselling approach. It is short-term, between 3-6 months, and terminated once the nutritional status has recovered satisfactorily.
In addition to the HIV and TB clients, WFP’s MAM treatment also targets pregnant and lactating mothers who are moderately malnourished.