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close this bookReaching Mothers and Children at Critical Times of their Lives (WFP)
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Open this folder and view contentsINTRODUCTION
Open this folder and view contentsPOLICY ISSUES AND OPERATIONAL CHALLENGES
View the documentRECOMMENDATIONS


It is recommended that the Executive Board endorse the following eight policy and operational principles. WFP would then prepare operational guidelines on supplementary feeding interventions on this basis.

  1. Greater focus on tackling early malnutrition. WFP will increase the share of food assistance to contribute to improving the nutritional status of mothers and children at critical times in their lives.
  2. Advocacy. Problems of early malnutrition will receive priority attention in the assessment of country needs for food assistance. WFP will define and communicate this focus in the process of the Common Country Assessment, the preparation of the Country Strategy Note and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework, and through dialogue with national authorities and the bilateral donor community.
  3. Priority groups. WFP will limit its assistance to those women and children whose nutritional vulnerability is directly linked to a lack of sufficient and appropriate food intake. Priority will be given to malnourished children and undernourished expectant and nursing mothers. Food delivery performance, child growth and birth weight are the key indicators for monitoring progress. Food assistance with a focus on the prevention of early malnutrition will require careful analysis and verification that supplementary feeding is indeed the best means of achieving this objective.
  4. Food rations. Commodities included in the food basket will be micronutrient-fortified to the extent possible. WFP will make necessary arrangements with food aid donors, or, where this is not possible, meet the costs of fortification under the category of direct support costs. WFP will strengthen its assistance to the local production of low-cost blended foods.
  5. Cost-effectiveness. The appropriateness of the food aid intervention will be judged on the basis of its targeting and transfer efficiency. In LDCs, where it is needed most, such assistance may involve higher costs.
  6. Safeguarding the effectiveness of food assistance. To ensure that its food assistance is fully effective, WFP will take pro-active measures such as: strengthened efforts to integrate WFP’s work with other United Nations agencies, particularly through the preparation of the Country Strategy Note and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework; increased collaboration with NGOs; and, especially in post-emergency situations and in remote areas where food needs are greatest, increased flexibility to meet a minimum of non-food expenditure such as training, nutrition education materials, weighing scales, growth charts, etc. from WFP’s own resources under the category of direct support costs.
  7. Duration of assistance. The sustainability and appropriate duration of WFP food assistance to address early malnutrition must be considered in terms of its long-term benefits. Its duration should be determined in light of need, the recipient countries’ own capacities and commitment, and the actual performance of the WFP-assisted programmes.
  8. Development in relief. WFP will continue to make optimum use of targeted supplementary feeding programmes through MCH structures as a safety net during the phasing out of general relief programmes. WFP will encourage the alignment of financial, technical and administrative resources in relief situations with the longer-term strengthening of MCH services for populations in remote, food-insecure areas.


This document is submitted for consideration to the Executive Board.

Pursuant to the decisions taken on the methods of work by the Executive Board at its First Regular Session of 1996, the documentation prepared by the Secretariat for the Board has been kept brief and decision-oriented. The meetings of the Executive Board are to be conducted in a business-like manner, with increased dialogue and exchanges between delegations and the Secretariat. Efforts to promote these guiding principles will continue to be pursued by the Secretariat.

The Secretariat therefore invites members of the Board who may have questions of a technical nature with regard to this document, to contact the WFP staff member(s) listed below, preferably well in advance of the Board's meeting. This procedure is designed to facilitate the Board's consideration of the document in the plenary.

The WFP focal points for this document are:

Chief, SPP:D. Spearmantel.: 6513-2601
Policy Analyst:W. Herbingertel.: 6513-2621

Should you have any questions regarding matters of dispatch of documentation for the Executive Board, please contact the Documentation and Meetings Clerk (tel.: 6513-2641).


Revised: September 23, 1997

: 1997, World Food Programme. All rights reserved.