Zambia has an annual population growth rate of 2.8 percent. Strong economic growth in recent years hasn’t resulted in either improved nutrition and food security nor equitable social development. Not only is Zambia one of the most unequal countries in the world—according to its Gini coefficient of 0.65—but its progress in reducing stunting and poverty has stagnated; roughly 40 percent of children between 6 months and 59 months are stunted.
The very low population density and challenges in service delivery render the cost of doing business and delivering strong multi-sectoral development support relatively high compared to the rest of the region.
WFP has adopted strategies to support the country’s vision to become an industrial middle-income country by 2030. The Zambia country program has three components:
- Homegrown school meals: WFP will phase out direct food delivery for school meals and transition to homegrown meals—focusing on producing and locally procuring nutritious foods for children and providing a market for smallholder farmers. WFP aims to assist 1 million primary school students in 2016 in an effort to increase attendance and students’ outcomes in the country’s poorest districts. The government is committed to increasing its financial contributions to reach 2 million primary school students by 2020.
- Nutrition: WFP works to safeguard the nutritional status of vulnerable groups through advocacy and the provision of technical assistance from national levels to district levels. In addition, WFP is an active member of the Scaling-Up Nutrition Movement in Zambia and has partnered with other development agencies to reverse stunting trends in the country.
- Resilience building: The UN agency supports smallholder farmers vulnerable to drought through the Rural Resilience (R4) Initiative and provides technical assistance to the government’s Disaster Mitigation and Management Unit. R4 targets poor and food-insecure households, particularly those cultivating less than two hectares—or a little less than five acres—of land. Most of these families are capable of raising their productivity with improved access to yield-enhancing technologies. Women head about half of these households. Using the R4 approach, WFP provides smallholder farmers with access to conservation agriculture activities supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization, as well as risk management services like drought insurance, credit, savings, improved market linkages and climate information services—all so the farmers can stimulate production over time and escape poverty and food insecurity.
In partnership with the government, UNICEF, the International Labour Organization, the International Organization for Migration and civil society organizations, WFP supports efforts to empower the poorest and most vulnerable. Cooperating partners give technical and financial assistance to the implementation of the National Social Protection Policy between 2016 and 2018. WFP’s specific role is to support the policy’s social assistance and livelihood and empowerment pillars with technical assistance.