The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a US$2.5 million contribution from the Government of Japan to provide nutrition assistance to refugees living in the Mahama refugee camp in Eastern Rwanda. Thanks to Japan’s generosity, WFP will provide nutrition assistance to 55,445 refugees which includes supplementary nutrition assistance to 9,203 vulnerable refugees such as infants and young children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and those living with HIV and tuberculosis.
“WFP welcomes this generous contribution from the Government and people of Japan. This will enable WFP to procure over 1,800 metric tons of food commodities locally, including nutritious foods to support the most vulnerable children, men, and women in Mahama camp,” said Edith Heines, WFP Representative and Country Director in Rwanda.
At the same time, pre-primary schoolchildren, including 2,536 children from the host community, will also receive a daily nutritious mid-morning snack.
“It is our pleasure that our support will improve the food security and nutritional status of refugees in Mahama camp, thereby increasing resilience against COVID-19. Japan appreciates the efforts which have been made by the Rwandan Government and WFP in this regard, and we wish to continue working with them,” said Masahiro Imai, Ambassador of Japan to Rwanda.
Mahama camp is the largest of the five refugee camps in the country. It was established in 2015 following an influx of Burundians fleeing violence and insecurity related to the country’s socio-political crisis. Currently, WFP provides nutrition assistance to 114,000 refugees in Rwanda.
However, despite this new funding, WFP is still not able to provide full rations to meet the minimum food requirements for refugees. In May 2021, WFP introduced a prioritization scheme – a system under which refugees are given rations according to their levels of vulnerability. Under this scheme, the most vulnerable refugees receive 92 percent of the full ratio and those deemed moderately vulnerable receive 46 percent of the full ratio. This ensures that the most vulnerable refugees are prioritized for general nutrition assistance while more self-reliant refugees are supported to graduate from external support.