Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) have entered a partnership to tackle food insecurity and rising levels of malnutrition in Kampala district.
KCCA’s Executive Director, Jennifer Musisi and WFP’s Country Director, El Khidir Daloum, signed the partnership agreement at the City Hall, announcing that the two parties were already undertaking a comprehensive survey through the Makerere University School of Public Health, to investigate the nature and magnitude of the two challenges.
“Many people are arriving in the city to look for work and finding themselves squeezed into settlements where basic social services are limited, sanitation is poor and, as result, their children are prone to infections and ill health. Moreover, these same households can hardly afford regular healthy diets,” said Musisi.
The study will investigate how poverty and rapid urbanization are impacting food security and malnutrition among the poor, she said, as well as among better-off households in Kampala which are increasingly faced with obesity or over-nutrition.
“This is exactly what we were looking for: scientific evidence that can guide our assistance to vulnerable households and our overall city strategic plan,” said Musisi.
“We approached WFP, aware of its expertise in conducting comprehensive food security surveys in cities around the world, and most recently in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Manila in the Philippines.”
Daloum said the new partnership will assist Uganda in working to achieve key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Kampala city generates 60 per cent of Uganda’s Gross Domestic Product,” said Daloum, as he spoke of the importance of the partnership which pushes WFP into new territory for achieving the SDG of Zero Hunger. “As we assist Uganda to achieve sustainable development, we know we must actively engage beyond Uganda’s traditional hunger hotspots.”
The National Demographic and Health Survey 2016 found that rates of chronic malnutrition or stunted growth among children aged under five in Kampala district rose from 13.5 per cent in 2011 to 18 per cent in 2016. Meanwhile, in Karamoja, which suffers high levels of food insecurity, WFP helped reduce malnutrition levels by 10 per cent during that five-year period.
The National Zero Hunger Strategic Review 2017 also found evidence of food insecurity and rising levels of malnutrition in the city. It noted that 21 per cent of Ugandans lived in urban areas in 2014, up from 12 per cent in 2002.
Results of the joint comprehensive study will guide KCCA and WFP in planning and assisting people in both formal and informal settlements, in line with KCCA’s vision of a healthy and vibrant workforce with access to safe, affordable and good-quality housing.