Q: What is basically the WFP Strategy in Sudan and how it coincides with the WFP Global Strategy?
A: WFP is undergoing a global corporate shift and will be transitioning to a new Country Strategic Plan in 2018. As such, WFP Sudan is heavily involved in the Country Strategic Review whereby the government, along with humanitarian and development partners identify the key challenges that Sudan faces in achieving zero hunger
Consultations with the Government are in progress with regard to developing the road map for zero hunger that will lead to a clear cut plan for WFP Sudan from 2018 onwards. In view of the continuing challenges in the Sudan, WFP will adapt its work to life-changing interventions, with greater focus on development, while maintaining life-saving activities and a strong emergency-response capacity, the existing humanitarian response element. WFP will focus on strengthening self-reliance of the people it serves to reduce humanitarian needs and address the root causes of malnutrition.
As with all of WFP’s operation around the world, the main goal is to create an environment in which international support is no longer needed. In this vein, capacity strengthening for the Government lays the foundation for eventual hand-over of interventions. This plan is aligned with the work of United Nations and non-governmental partners. The focus on long-term solutions and addressing the root causes of hunger and malnutrition will require new partnerships to complement WFP’s skills, particularly in adopting a holistic approach to addressing malnutrition.
A: Can you give us the number of localities and beneficiaries from the WFP-Sudan?
A: Assistance provided by WFP varies according to humanitarian and development needs depending on different environmental, economic and security situations across the country. WFP measures these needs against specific targeting criteria through vulnerability assessments and analysis. Based on these findings, WFP Sudan works on average in 136 localities and 3.2 million beneficiaries.
Q: The SDGs primary Goals are strongly linked with your work, but how do you implement them on the ground, taking into account the continuous accruing crises?
A: The SDGs are global goals for the entire humanitarian and development community to strive for a better world by 2030. WFP Sudan supports the SDGs in line with Government led goals for the people of Sudan. As WFP works towards a zero hunger world it will maintain its capacity for life-saving emergency response (humanitarian capacity) and will enhance life-changing activities (development) that promote resilience.
WFP’s work is centralised around SDG 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, and SDG 17 - Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. WFP Sudan implements a variety of food and nutrition programmes to address food insecurity and malnutrition across the country. One example includes School Meals whereby children are fed during classes to motivate attendance and improve learning. In addition, WFP runs the Farmers to Market project to work with farmers to increase their output and profits in parallel to the Post-Harvest Loss Reduction (PHLR) project which improves grain post-harvest handling and storage through the provision of subsidized silos, training for smallholders with focus on improving grain safety and quality, and strengthening farmers access to markets and supply chains improvement. These are only two examples of the many operations WFP is implementing across to Sudan to reach its mandate of a Zero Hunger world by 2030.
WFP also has a commitment to build partnerships to support implementation of the 2030 Agenda under SDG 17. In Sudan, this is encompassed in the provision of air services to the entire humanitarian and development community through the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), as well as support services in logistics and information and communications technology (ICT) to partners on the ground.
Q: There has been a long time Goal of transferring Humanitarian Aid to Development Assistance; (UNDAF 2009-2012 and 2013-2016). How far has WFP moved in this direction?
A: WFP is a need-based operation whereby it tailors its assistance according to the context in any given country. In Sudan, despite ongoing challenges, WFP has seen progress in terms of improved security, economy and livelihoods of the people it serves. This has meant that WFP has shifted its attention from only focusing on meeting peoples immediate survival needs, to one which attempts to link humanitarian and development outcomes through a variety of projects in particular through its targeting, camp structure, offering market-based solutions and livelihood boosting activities in collaboration with partners.
Q: Most of WFP’s efforts are outside Khartoum while now 30 percent of the population live in Khartoum and the number is in the increase. Malnutrition among basic education children in the state is very high especially in the semi-urban areas around Khartoum. What is your comment on this?
A: WFP’s programme in Sudan is based on specific targeting criteria which outlines, through vulnerability assessments and analysis, where WFP is best placed to provide support, on average, the states that WFP targets have levels of acute and chronic malnutrition that are nearing or above emergency thresholds. Our targeting is informed by our overall strategy, Ministry of Health priorities, latest nutritional surveys & evidence as well as programmatic learnings.
This means that much of WFP’s support is most required to help disaster affected people and rural poor households to address hunger and malnutrition. Similarly, WFP’s School Meals programme prioritises schools in localities that have high levels of malnutrition and food insecurity. Although we understand that there are also poor households in other localities (such as Khartoum) – with limited resources, there is a need to priorities – and we are aware that there are other partners (Government of Sudan, other agencies, private sector) that do already implement programmes in schools in Khartoum.
Q: Food Security is a multi-dimensional challenge which includes the agriculture sector revitalization, rural women empowerment, global agricultural produce trade policies. How do WFP address these issues in Sudan?
A: Agriculture in Sudan is mostly rainfed and hence unreliable rainfall is a concern which effects the economy, peoples’ livelihoods and food security now and into the future. The agricultural sector here in Sudan is not optimised because of poor farming practices, major post-harvest losses, a persistent gender gap and the disruption of agricultural activities by conflict.
WFP and its partners, including the government, donors, other United Nations agencies and non-governmental organisation, work together to enable a holistic approach and solution to food security challenges in Sudan. WFP and the Ministry of Agriculture are implementing activities to connect farmers to markets through on-the -job training for smallholder farmers in technical and business skills. We are doing so with particular focus on women, to strengthen their resilience and their roles in the economy and local community. This in turn, will increase their decision-making power in the family. WFP promotes improved post-harvest storage through awareness-raising, training, subsidized silos and more effective farmers’ associations.
Country Director & Representative, Sudan
UN World Food Programme (WFP)
Matthew Hollingworth has worked for the United Nations World Food Programme for more than 15 years and currently serves as Country Director and Representative in Sudan where he heads up one of the largest running operations in the world. He oversees over 1000 staff and is providing leadership for work in Sudan that builds self-reliance, resilience and capacity strengthening for men and women, while ensuring that WFP maintains its hallmark emergency response capacity.
Previously, Matthew has served in many challenging settings, including Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and Pakistan. He built his experience as a logistics officer, emergency coordinator, deputy country director and WFP Representative. Matthew also led the emergency response team in Headquarters tasked with deploying to sudden onset disasters, natural and man-made to establish food assistance programmes and to support the UN response with logistical planning and service-provision.
Most recently, from January 2013 until October 2015 Matthew led the WFP operation in war-torn Syria. Prior to taking up his post in Sudan, Matthew served as the Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, with a particular focus on supporting country offices facing large-scale and complex emergencies.
Matthew holds a Master of Science degree from Cranfield University (UK) in Supply Chain Management as well a Bachelor of Arts from Southampton University (UK) in Philosophy and Politics. Matthew is married with three children.