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From food aid to livelihoods support: rethinking the role of WFP in eastern Sudan

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Written by Sara Pantuliano

Despite more than 20 years of distribution of free emergency food in eastern Sudan (38 years in the case of refugees) Global Acute Malnutrition rates are currently the highest in the country. There has been no real improvement in the chronic livelihoods vulnerability that affects people in the region—particularly pastoralists. Food security must be seen from an informed livelihoods perspective. While food aid may still be required as part of transition, WFP must rethink its assistance strategy and advocate for complementarity in the efforts by development actors working across a range of sectors. Alternative models and interventions focused on the rehabilitation of markets and the development of' cargo nets' for the destitute, including cash transfers, must be developed and tested. Land tenure issues should be given particular attention. Food aid will probably remain an important element in the overall response, but its significance relative to other less developed forms of interventions should be reassessed.

Sara Pantuliano