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Debt can be re-scheduled or cancelled but hunger cannot. People need to eat today or they will die. Yet the very emergency food drops and crisis feeding centers that keep desperate people alive today risk undermining a state’s longer-term ability to look after the welfare of its citizens, as well as challenging individuals’ ability to look after themselves and their families with dignity and autonomy.
This challenge – responding to the immediate food needs of people in crisis while addressing the longer-term obligation to hand over responsibility for hunger to governments, communities, and families – lay at the heart of a recent 4½ day DesignSession that The Value Web designed and facilitated in Delhi for the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP).
Representatives of WFP’s operations in 15 countries plus headquarters and Asian regional staff worked together to translate into national action plans WFP’s strategy to develop the capacity of governments to address hunger themselves and hand over responsibility for doing so. This follows a Value Web-facilitated session a year ago in Cairo to solicit field input into the formulation of the strategy itself. A subsequent DesignSession in Addis Ababa developed strategies in one particular area where autonomy in the face of hunger can be maintained – the provision of social and productive safety nets.
The remarkable success of the Delhi session points to the likelihood of continuing this essential work with WFP in West Africa and Latin America.