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WFP welcomes support from Gran Canaria for Sahrawi refugees

Sahrawi refugees live in the desert, in a remote and isolated area, with limited opportunities for economic activity or employment. (PHOTO/File)

TINDOUF, Algeria– – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a contribution of €1 million (US$1.1 million) from the Cabildo (governing council) of Gran Canaria in Spain to support food assistance for Sahrawi refugees in Algeria. This is the second consecutive annual donation that WFP has received from the Cabildo for Sahrawi refugees.

“This contribution will make a real difference to the assistance we’re providing to the refugees,” said WFP Representative and Country Director in Algeria Romain Sirois. “WFP relies on voluntary funds for its programmes and contributions from non-traditional donors such as Gran Canaria are especially welcome.”

The funds will allow WFP to provide gofio, a roasted corn flour, to thousands of refugee families living in the desert in Tindouf, a remote and arid region in the south-west of Algeria. Gofio is a popular staple food among Sahrawi refugees – with its high nutritional value, it is rich in fibre and vitamins, and can help reduce levels of malnutrition and anaemia. The gofio will complement the other foodstuffs provided each month to the refugees.

WFP also plans to include gofio in its school feeding programme which benefits more than 40,000 Sahrawi children attending education facilities in the camps. The children will receive mid-morning snacks that include a mixture of gofio, sugar and vegetable oil.

School feeding has been shown to be effective in encouraging children to attend school and to stay in education.

WFP has been the main source of food for most Sahrawi refugees in Algeria since 1986. Besides Gran Canaria, additional support from Spain for the refugees includes contributions from the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECID) and the regions of Asturias, Baleares, Canarias, Cantabria, Castilla-León, Comunidad Valenciana, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid and Murcia.

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