Delivering food to the most vulnerable in times of COVID-19

On October 9, 2020, the World Food Programme won the Nobel Peace Prize. Despite the threats posed by COVID-19, the WFP is working around the clock to maintain food assistance programmes which offer a lifeline to 87 million people globally. Read on to learn about the contributions of two UN Volunteers serving with WFP in Mozambique.

Angela Gregório António Chale Macie, UN Volunteer with WFP in Nampula, Mozambique

Just a couple of months before COVID-19 spread across nearly every border in the world, Ângela Gregório António Chale Macie began serving as a United Nations Volunteer in Nampula, Mozambique. Little did she know just how critical her role would become for the people in Erati district when the Coronavirus endangered their already-limited access to food.

As a field monitor, Ângela is responsible for overseeing the monitoring and evaluation procedures in Erati district’s health centres, specifically for programmes related to nutrition. She collects, analyses, and submits both weekly and monthly reports regarding the number of beneficiaries WFP supports with nutritional products through the national treatment programme for malnutrition provided to vulnerable groups such as young children, pregnant and lactating mothers and those living with HIV/TB and registers   any supplemental stocks as well.

Accurate data is essential to adequately prepare for the community’s food needs. Ângela points out, “through data collection, it is possible to obtain a complete picture of the situation that, after analysis, predicts the needs of health units.”

In addition to collecting and reporting data, Ângela must ensure that the health centres’ stock of items follow the recommended procedures, from receiving and registering to packaging and handling both nutritional products and non-food items.

Angela supporting averification exercise by WFP Mozambique during food distribution for displaced persons

Ângela’s role as a UN Volunteer doesn’t stop there. Food assistance and nutrition programmes require the collaboration of various community actors. She coordinates meetings with local entities, including the government administration and the District Service for Economic Activities. Together, WFP and partners implemented a Food Assistance for Assets (FFA) programme from February to April 2020, providing monthly food rations to food insecure households during the lean season, a period of extreme food scarcity. In exchange for the rations, recipients contributed to building or rehabilitating their communities’ assets.

“During this period, I supported the Christian Council of Mozambique by monitoring the field openings, rehabilitating roads, and supporting the nutrition-sensitive effort of planting fruit trees and sweet potato branches,” Ângela recounted.

With the COVID-19 crisis well underway at this time, Ângela and her team adapted the programme to include important health information and behaviour change activities for recipients. “We made communal lectures in the field before the distributions about the precautions to be taken to avoid contracting COVID-19, including how to social distance, wash hands, and wear a mask.”

Nampula province, where Ângela works, has been one of the hardest-hit regions in the country. The country’s President, Filipe Nyusi declared a national state of emergency from April 1 to July 31, which included strict measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As of September 9, Mozambique had reported 4,647 cases and as few as 28 deaths as a result of Coronavirus.

Angela during an information sharing session on COVID-19 and practices to adopt in order to prevent the spread of the virus further


The challenges continue to increase. Due to attacks by Non State Armed Groups (NSAG), populations have been displaced from Cabo Delgado province and are now arriving to Nampula province. Thanks to the efforts of the National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC) and WFP, these displaced persons are receiving food assistance.

Mozambiquans continue to face significant challenges, including on food access, climate change, disease outbreaks, and the economic consequences of the lockdown. Ângela knows that her work is far from over and that she will continue to make a commitment to her community as a United Nations Volunteer.

Hortencio Muana,  UN Volunteer with WFP in Changara district, Mozambique

In Mozambique’s Changara district located in Tete province, the United Nations Volunteer Hortencio Muana has been a key member of the Integrated Climate Risk Management Project (ICRMP) that began in July 2019.

The objective of the ICRMP is to build climate-resilient livelihoods and food security systems in Changara district in Tete province through integrated, context-specific climate risk management. Specifically, the ICRMP combines approaches like climate resilient agriculture, weather-index micro-insurance, saving, credit, and climate services to help build resilient livelihoods for greater food security.

Hortencio Muana, UN Volunteer serving with WFP Mozambique, during his assignment in the field

While the ICRMP is made up of diverse, individual components, it is most effective, when these are offered in a consistent manner to the project participants. In this context, Hortencio Muana, who is based in the district of implementation, has played a key role in mobilizing the smallholder farmers and keeping them systematically engaged in the project.

In this context, Hortencio Muana, who is based in the district of implementation, has played a key role in mobilizing the smallholder farmers and keeping them systematically engaged in the project.

Beyond that, Hortencio Muana has been instrumental in coordinating the interventions by different project participants. From the government, the project works with representatives from MADER, INAM, INGC, and MTA. There are also non-governmental partners such as the NGO Aceagrarios, who is helping with the implementation of key activities, like the conservation agriculture component. Finally, Hortencio has interacted with private sector and academia representatives through his role in the ICRMP.

Hortencio Muana also plays a key role in the monitoring of the ICRMP outputs and outcomes, by coordinating data collection by the relevant stakeholders, and validating this through his own monitoring activities. As such, he is instrumental in knowing how the project is progressing and any challenges that may be experienced.

The ICRMP is a multi-year initiative that will be scaled up in future years within the district of Changara, as well as neighbouring districts of Cahora Bassa and Marara. The experience and knowledge gained by Hortencio will be useful to support the expansion. He will be able to train and assist new project members in the new districts.