Seasonal livelihood Program in FATA
TNN reporter Tayyeb Afridi is interviewing WFP country director in Pakistan Mr. Finbarr Curran about seasonal Livelihood program. Photo by TNN

Tayyeb Afridi 

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) in collaboration with other partners is implementing the government of Japan USD 0.5 million funded project to support seasonal livelihood program in erstwhile FATA to eradicate poverty, end malnutrition, and improve quality of lives of the repatriated populations.

The project was officially announced by the Secretary for Livelihood and Production Department, Abdul Latif, and the Ambassador of Japan in Pakistan,  Mr Takashi Kurai, during a press event in Islamabad last week.

In order to develop a sustainable model that can later be handed over to government of Pakistan, WFP will work out a strategy to enable local people to have relevant expertise, knowledge and skills to grow their own food and take care of their family needs during challenging environment, WFP country director Mr. Finbarr Curran tells Tribal New Network during an interview about the project.

While explaining the concept of seasonal livelihood program Mr. Curran says livelihood means enabling local people by giving them expertise, knowledge, quality seeds or whatever it takes so that they can establish their farms, grow their own food and have access to the market. So livelihood support is to make sure people have expertise to grow food not only for themselves but also for communities around them.

One of the components of this project is to gather Information and create centralized data hub that will help in mitigating risks and understanding the socio-economic status of the communities to produce “risk-informed planning tool to identify interventions suited to a variety of contexts and time frames”.

WFP will work with larger communities to identify needs of the communities and develop a strategy on delivering livelihood skills, humanitarian and development interventions so that people in the tribal districts can establish and support their lives by growing food in hostile environment he says while elaborating on the role of WFP in the project.

That is why WFP engages for longer term in areas such as erstwhile FATA that has witnessed conflict and now vulnerable to disasters, Mr Curran says after developing resilience of farmers and growers, the chances of eradicating poverty, and ending malnutrition will increase manifold.

Apart from WFP, Food and Agriculture organization (FAO) is also active in Pakistan and implementing projects in erstwhile FATA related to food security and improving resilience of local people.

To differentiate between the roles of the two UN agencies, Mr. Curran says that FAO looks at agricultural policies, agriculture farms, quality of seeds, whereas WFP looks at feeding people and identifying and providing nutritious food. “In fact, they work together very well on projects, for example, WFP work with FAO to help farmers grow the type of food that they believe is nutritious and healthy”, he remarks.

According to him, some people look at UN as a combination of lots of organisations that intervene in each other areas but that is not the case.

At UN, these agencies are trying to create projects that leverage each other expertise and ultimately handover projects to government because they believe once you establish a livelihood program you are in position to withdraw for government, he concludes.