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DEVELOPMENT REPORT – March 10, 2003: World Food Program - 2003-03-07

This is the VOA Special English Development Report.

The United Nations World Food Program is forty years old this year.

It began as an experiment to provide food aid to nations affected by natural disasters. The United Nations established the World Food Program in nineteen-sixty-three. Since then, the program has spent more than twenty-seven-thousand-million dollars on food assistance. More than eighty countries receive aid from the W-F-P.

The World Food Program says that around the world, more than eight-hundred-million people go to bed hungry. That is one out of seven people. Yet it says there is enough food for every man, woman and child to live healthy and productive lives.

The World Food Program specializes in food aid. It often works with other U-N groups. One is the Food and Agriculture Organization. This agency provides expert technical assistance to farmers and other producers. Another agency is the International Fund for Agricultural Development, which provides financial assistance.

All three U-N agencies are based in Rome. They combine their knowledge to fight world hunger. The World Food Program depends on money, food and other assistance provided mostly by governments but also companies and individuals. It also works with international aid groups and non-governmental organizations to carry out its programs.

A committee of thirty-six member states governs the World Food Program. The U-N secretary general and the leader of the Food and Agriculture Organization appoint the head of this committee every five years.

The World Food Program aims to meet emergency needs after events like floods, earthquakes or deadly storms. It provides food to nations that face severe shortages. The agency also supports social and economic development in poor countries. It works with women in an effort to make sure they get enough food assistance. And the W-F-P provides poor children with meals so they can attend school.

The W-F-P is the world’s largest international food aid organization. Agency officials say that in two-thousand-one, seventy-seven-million people ate food from the United Nations World Food Program.

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss.