The food-assistance branch of the United Nations, World Food Program (WFP), has maintained a role in Peru since 1968. Over this time, its presence and support have transformed from equipping the country with food aid to bolstering its national, regional and community nutritional scope.
Putting an end to malnutrition
Adopting its global campaign: Saving lives, changing lives, the recently-published country brief reveals its operational influencers and strategic plans to promote healthier eating habits to reduce child malnutrition. Peru is spearheading its commitment to reducing chronic child malnutrition, as while it has been halved since 2000, 12.2% of children under five still currently face its reality.
The Demographic and Family Health Survey (ENDES 2018) also reveals that 43% of children aged between six and 36 months suffer from anaemia. Malnutrition in Peru is also seen through increasing overweight and obesity levels among children. Almost a third, 32.3%, of children aged between five and nine years old, are classed as either overweight or obese.
Economic, societal and environmental factors play a significant part in food security. Described by the WFP as “one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world”, in 2015, 7.1 million people in Peru were living in a district with high or very high vulnerability to food insecurity amid disasters.
Reaching Sustainability Development Goal 2
While WFP is primed to respond to governmental emergency food-related requests, it is now adopting an advocacy, partnership and convening role to enhance Peru’s commitment to Sustainability Development Goal (SDG) 2: to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. To foster this shift, WFP has brought in an integrated approach to food and nutrition by pairing communications, social mobilization and evidence to support actions.
Peru has a population of 31.2 million, which comprises upper middle-income levels, yet, in 2017, reported a chronic malnutrition rate of 13% of children under five years. The country’s strategic plan outlines an allocated contribution of $12.4 million. In total, the efforts are expected to require $31 million.
Peru has created three core strategic objectives to support its roadmap for the implementation of its pilot project’s communication strategy, named “Semilla”. The pilot project is a partnership between WFP, FAO, PAHO and UNICEF and the
Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion.
Together, the collaborators aim to promote healthier eating habits to reduce child malnutrition. In particular, its behavior change communication strategy seeks to lower overweight and obesity levels among school-age children.
- Build Partnerships
Strategically, Peru hopes to enhance partnerships to achieve its SDG goals. Focusing on the root causes of nutritional concerns, collectively, Peru’s government, the private sector, academia and civil society are ready to work together to contribute to removing hunger and malnutrition by 2030.
To achieve these objectives, the contributors will form an alliance, creating targets and designating resources and efforts to reach zero hunger targets.
- No person experiences and suffers from malnutrition
Peru aims to improve the nutrition status of the most vulnerable groups by 2022. These individuals are most at risk of experiencing the most common forms of malnutrition, namely stunting, anaemia, overweight and obesity.
Again, striving to tackle the root causes of malnutrition, WFP will support the country by offering capacity-strengthening and technical assistance, including cooperation and technology transfer to all government levels.
By engaging in research, evidence gathering and by carrying out assessments, the international organization hopes to apply innovative and comprehensive nutrition intervention models specific to Peru’s regional and cultural context.
- Enhanced ability to put into action SDGs
As WFP seeks to enable Peru to build resilience, the organization aims to heighten the capacities of national and sub-national institutions to manage food security, disaster preparedness and response, and social protection policies and programs by 2022.
It will address these gaps by offering policy and operational-level capacity building and technical assistance to maximize social protection and disaster risk management programs. These will be specifically geared towards the needs of vulnerable people in the country.
Current challenges in Peru revolve around the political landscape. As the country’s President, Martín Vizcarra, has suggested early general elections in 2020 and bringing the legislative and presidential terms to a close a year earlier than intended, tension has increased. As a result, the WFP is working closely with the government to support the introduction of specific policies and programs that seek to reach the SDG2.