The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed
a contribution of £3 million (US$3.8 million) from the United Kingdom to help
save the lives of over 60,000 Burundian refugees in Mahama camp in eastern
Rwanda who had faced ration cuts this month.
“This contribution enables WFP to continue to reach the most
vulnerable women, girls, boys and men in Mahama with life-saving food and
nutritional assistance,” said Edith Heines, WFP Rwanda Representative and
“These funds through the Department for International
Development allowed WFP to avert cuts from this month and reinstate cash-based
transfers to all camp residents,” she added.
WFP uses a hybrid model of cash and in-kind food assistance
to support the Burundian refugees in Mahama. Cash enables refugees to purchase
food of their choice at markets in or around the camp, improving their dietary
diversity and supporting the local economy.
With support from the United Kingdom and other donors, WFP
can also continue providing highly fortified nutritious foods to the most
vulnerable in Mahama to improve their nutritional status. These include
children under two years of age, pregnant women and nursing mothers, as well as
people living with HIV/AIDS and patients with tuberculosis who are on
As a result of such nutrition support, child stunting was
cut from 46 percent in 2015 to 25.5 percent in 2019 and wasting went from 10.3
percent to 2.3 percent in the same time period.
Refugees in Mahama have limited livelihood opportunities and
mainly depend on food and nutritional assistance from WFP.
WFP continues to explore opportunities for refugees to find
livelihoods and integrate with local host communities. This is supported
jointly by partners such as the UN refugee agency, the Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, civil society organizations and the
government of Rwanda.
Mahama is the sixth and largest refugee camp in Rwanda and
was established in April 2015.