Rwanda: WFP and UNHCR Roll Out Targeted Food Assistance to Meet Needs of the Most Vulnerable Refugees in Rwanda

Refugees wait to collect food (file photo).

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, have started rolling out a new mechanism in Rwanda to prioritize general food assistance to the most vulnerable refugees.

“The funding shortfalls, which we were already facing due to the protracted nature of the refugee crisis in Rwanda, have been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Ahmed Baba Fall, UNHCR’s Representative to Rwanda. “To avoid these cuts affecting the most vulnerable refugees, we have established a targeting system that will allow us to prioritize extremely vulnerable refugees who depend entirely on humanitarian assistance and to ensure that their basis needs are met.”

“This is the right step at the right time when donors globally are under greater pressure than ever because of the impact of COVID-19 and growing demands,” said WFP Rwanda Representative and Country Director Edith Heines. “By targeting we prioritize funding to the refugees who are most in need of assistance while we work to mobilise more resources and find long-term solutions.”

This shift is in close collaboration with the Ministry of Emergency Management (MINEMA) and with technical support from the Joint UNHCR-WFP Programme Excellence and Targeting Hub.   This is the first country in Eastern Africa where WFP and UNHCR have jointly implemented targeting and prioritization of humanitarian assistance, with the support of the hub.

UNHCR, together with the Rwanda authorities, is embarking on a stepped-up livelihoods and economic inclusion strategy that will increase refugee and host community resilience.

“We are confident that by investing in programmes that promote access to livelihoods and economic opportunities, education enrolment and access to land and financial services, part of the refugee population will be able to improve their livelihoods and support themselves.  With this, I believe development partners will come forward with additional resources to support programmes targeting refugees and host communities for more sustainable solutions,” added Fall.

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