T HE World Food Programme (WFP) has distanced itself from an increasing number of
locally-produced versions of its own "Food For Work" project.
versions - such as those initiated by politicians and other NGOs - are being
confused with those conducted by the WFP.
But other projects amount to
little more than "rip-offs", where hungry villagers are promised food but
receive very little - or none at all - for their work.
director Kenro Oshidari said there had been a number of cases "where communities
were verbally promised food payments for undertaking work by local authorities
but were not paid in full or at all upon completion of the work."
bogus schemes cause anger and resentment among villagers in the countryside who
see such schemes as the only way of getting enough to eat.
that there were some food for work projects on a much smaller scale than those
run by the WFP being implemented by the Royal Government and "a number of NGOs"
using their own food resources.
"At times, this has created confusion
with WFP projects," Oshidari said.
One NGO worker said "this is happening
time and time again at the moment."
He said that politicians saw such
programs as popular and good for their own political reasons. When the schemes
collapse "everyone blames the WFP," he said.
Oshidari, in a letter to
the Post in response to questioning about the Piem Ro food for work program in
Prey Veng, said that particular programme was not one that the WFP or the
Cambodian Red Cross was involved in.
"All WFP "Food For Work" projects
must be approved by the WFP before the implementation of the project," he
He said such projects first must be assessed on technical aspects,
especially hydrology projects where the WFP had a memorandum of understanding
with the Agriculture Ministry. Under the agreement, the Hydrology Department had
to first approve the work.
Oshidari said the poorest communities had
priority for the limited food resources available, following a WFP "targeting
process" conducted early last year.
The WFP also ensured the projects
were properly monitored during the work and that the food was properly
distributed, he said.