Despite an abundance of natural resources including diamonds and gold, Guinea faces major socio-economic and political challenges. Poverty and malnutrition rates are alarming, especially in rural areas, and the 2014 Ebola outbreak has made already vulnerable communities more insecure.
On average, 55 percent of the Guinean population live below the poverty line, and unemployment is high, particularly among youth and women. Around 17.5 percent of the population – or around 1.9 million people – are food insecure. Just under 100,000 children under age 5 suffer from severe malnutrition, and 230,000 children suffer from moderate acute malnutrition. Overall, chronic malnutrition rates are at 25.9% nationwide.
Guinea is prone to recurring natural disasters, which weaken food security. Flooding is common during the rainy season, affecting between 50,000 and 69,000 people each year. Most Guineans rely on subsistence agriculture and are not covered by any national safety net programme, making them particularly vulnerable to the effects of flooding and other natural disasters, such as the Ebola epidemic.
The Ebola outbreak continues to have an economic impact, with curfews and trading restrictions limiting daily life and economic activities. The disease has put further pressures on a country already deeply riddled with social and ethnic tensions. The risk of ethnic and political violence remains high, particularly during presidential elections, and the relationship between the military and the civilian government is highly sensitive. Political instability in neighbouring countries has also led to an influx of around 4,800 refugees into Guinea, placing further strain on the country’s resources.
The World Food Programme (WFP) has been in Guinea since 1964, providing vital assistance to vulnerable groups of people around the country, including over 930,000 people affected by Ebola. WFP’s Ebola response helps people affected by the virus outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, by delivering food and organizing logistics alongside the health response.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Guinea
Emergency support for communities affected by Ebola
In Guinea, WFP helps communities affected by the Ebola outbreak, assisting people in areas with intense, widespread transmission of this devastating disease. WFP helps contact cases and their households, Ebola patients and their caretakers, and Ebola victims, including survivors and orphans. WFP continues to work with partners to get the number of Ebola cases to zero, as well as helping communities to transition out of crisis and into recovery.
Food assistance and nutrition
WFP provides life-saving food supplies to vulnerable people, including children under 5, pregnant and nursing women, people living with HIV/AIDS and their families, and patients undergoing treatment for tuberculosis (TB). Improved food security prevents and reduces maternal malnutrition, low birth weight rates and malnutrition for children under the age of 5. It also increases the success rates of treatment for diseases such as TB and HIV.
WFP works with the Guinean government, other UN agencies, and national NGOs to implement and incentivize activities designed to reduce food insecurity and strengthen Guinea’s ability to respond to disasters.
WFP provides hot school meals to 248,930 children in 1,605 schools throughout the school year. This aims to improve the attendance rates of elementary school students. As an incentive to encourage girls to stay enrolled in school, WFP provides take-home food supplies to girls enrolled in the final grade.
Support to local farmers
To enhance the resilience of fragile communities, WFP supports communities to produce locally grown food that can be used for school meals programmes. This increases food diversity and encourages communities to provide increasing supplies of healthy home-grown food to local school canteens.