The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Ministry of Social Affairs of Lebanon have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance their collaboration on building and strengthening the government-owned and WFP-supported social assistance systems for almost 142,000 Lebanese families. The memorandum aims to enhance the Ministry’s capacity in managing social safety nets in the country.
"This memorandum further strengthens our partnership with the Ministry as we work on supporting the consolidation of social assistance systems in the country,” said WFP Country Director and Representative in Lebanon Abdallah Alwardat. “WFP remains committed to providing assistance to the most vulnerable families in Lebanon through social safety nets.”
Food insecurity in Lebanon has been taking an upward trend with now nearly half of the population affected. Households headed by women, large families with many dependents (children and/or older persons), and the presence of household members with chronic illness or disabilities are also more likely to be food insecure.
Since the onset of the economic crisis, WFP – in close collaboration with the Ministry of Social Affairs and other stakeholders – has continuously scaled up its assistance to Lebanese citizens through the National Poverty Targeting Programme (NPTP) and the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) that was launched at scale in 2021 to respond to the deteriorating situation. This joint effort aims to alleviate the impact of the crisis on vulnerable communities in Lebanon.
"The signing of this agreement is a natural result of the close cooperation between the Ministry of Social Affairs and the United Nations World Food Programme on several levels, most notably the participation in the implementation of both the Emergency Social Safety Net and the National Poverty Targeting Porgramme,” says Minister of Social Affairs in Lebanon Hector Hajjar.
Social assistance in the form of cash transfers has become the only source of income for many people in Lebanon who continue to suffer from a deteriorating economic crisis. It also allows people to prioritise their spending as they see fit to cover a variety of needs in an increasingly volatile economy.
The work of WFP, the Ministry of Social Affairs, and its partners extend back to 2014 following the launch of Lebanon’s first targeted social safety net programme. With the support of our donors, the National Poverty Targeting Programme, which initially supported 5,000 families has today expanded along with the ESSN to include almost 142,000 families.