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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Various "Food for Work" projects cause confusion

Various "Food for Work" projects cause confusion

T HE World Food Programme (WFP) has distanced itself from an increasing number of

locally-produced versions of its own "Food For Work" project.

Some

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.

WFP country

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."

Such

bogus schemes cause anger and resentment among villagers in the countryside who

see such schemes as the only way of getting enough to eat.

Oshidari said

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

said.

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.

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