Food Security

What We Do
© UNHCR/N.Behring

Small scale agriculture

UNHCR and WFP have implemented multi-storey gardens (MSG) in refugee camps through its partners in Kenya since 2006 and Ethiopia beginning in 2008. These gardens are part of a food security strategy to support dietary diversity and enhance refugee contributions to their own food consumption. The MSG are particularly indicated for the dry and non-fertile areas where the refugee camps are located and where both the soil quality is not ideal for farming and water quantity inadequate. Issues of water harvesting, pest control, nutrition, meal planning, women's empowerment and the actual construction and maintenance of the multi-storey garden are addressed in training modules.

Kenya: The MSG program in Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps began as a partnership initiative between WFP/UNHCR and GTZ. The gardens were part of a livelihoods training initiative for targeted refugees to produce sufficient fresh vegetables for home consumption and some limited selling. There has been interrupted periods of funding breaks with the programme recording mixed success over the years; some refugee households greatly improved their dietary diversity while others never moved beyond seedling stage. The project was suspended in 2007 due to lack of funding, poor coordination and limited ownership at the household level. Many refugees requested its resumption and some continued the programme without support from the implementing partners or the UN. The programme was revitalized in 2008 with financial or material support from both UNHCR and WFP and has a waiting list of participants. The 2008 Joint Assessment Mission recommended that the project be thoroughly evaluated in order to determine lessons learnt and best practices to guide future scaling up.

Ethiopia: As part of its food security and nutrition strategy, UNHCR, in partnership with ZOA, WFP, FAO and ARRA (Administration of Refugees and Returnees Affairs), initiated in 2008 a pilot project of multi-storey gardens in three refugee camps in Ethiopia with the aim of strengthening the food security and nutrition status of the vulnerable refugees and develop their self reliance capacities. The project consisted mainly of training, coaching and assisting some 600 vulnerable households in multi-storey gardens and poultry farming. The ultimate goal of this project is to enable these households to growth and harvest some vegetables to complement their daily food rations and to sell part of their production to earn some money.