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WFP Announces Partnership with Vodafone Group Foundation and UN Foundation

Washington, DC —   December 21, 2006

In a fast moving world that is increasingly struck by disasters, the United Nations World Food Programme announced a partnership today with The Vodafone Group Foundation (VGF) and the United Nations Foundation (UN Foundation) that will help expand the efficiency and speed with which WFP - and other humanitarian agencies - respond to global emergencies.

A joint donation of US$832,000 from VGF and UN Foundation is being used to train ICT team leaders and technicians, develop new WFP information and communications technology (ICT), best practices protocol, and update WFP ICT deployment technologies and technical standards. This funding will support UN emergency response teams across the planet and will significantly affect the way the entire humanitarian community copes with disasters.

"Through this partnership, WFP can become more efficient in delivering disaster relief," said Ernesto Baca, Director of WFP's Information & Communications Technologies Division. "When an emergency hits, technological support is critical in kick-starting the disaster response initiative because being able to communicate not only enables us to plan, prepare and provide humanitarian relief as quickly as possible, but mostly saves lives."

“The Vodafone Group Foundation is pleased to support WFP in strengthening communications resources to emergency response teams,” said Andrew Dunnett, Director of The Vodafone Group Foundation. “Such facilities are essential in strengthening relief operations. Vodafone Group Foundation has a long term commitment to this work and we are pleased to be scaling this up with WFP.”

"Communications technologies have become critical to every phase of emergency response for the UN and we're pleased to partner with the World Food Programme as it continues to use these technologies to save lives around the world," said Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation. "We're proud that our partnership with The Vodafone Group Foundation can foster public-private partnerships that pair valuable corporate resources, knowledge, and experience with the lifesaving work of the UN."

On behalf of the United Nations, WFP takes the lead role in emergencies for food aid, security telecommunications and logistics. Already a world leader in managing communications in disaster situations, WFP has shouldered the main responsibility for providing vital links at the very outset of an emergency. Amid devastation in almost every corner of the globe - from the massive Indian Ocean tsunami to the drought and locust infestation in Africa, the earthquake in Kashmir, the hurricanes that have battered Central America as well as the floods across Europe and Asia, WFP is pivotal in ensuring rapid communications that save lives and livelihoods.

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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: each year, we give food to an average of 90 million poor people to meet their nutritional needs, including 58 million hungry children, in at least 80 of the world's poorest countries. WFP -- We Feed People.

WFP Global School Feeding Campaign – For just 19 US cents a day, you can help WFP give children in poor countries a healthy meal at school – a gift of hope for a brighter future.Visit our website: www.wfp.org

WFP now provides RSS feeds to help journalists keep up with the latest press releases, videos and photos as they are published on WFP.org. For more details see: http://www.wfp.org/english/?n=999.

WFP now has a dedicated ISDN line in Italy for quality two-way interviews with WFP officials.

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):
Brenda Barton, Deputy Director of Communications, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39-06-65132602, Cell. +39-3472582217 (ISDN line available)
Gregory Barrow, WFP/London, Tel. +44-20-72409001, Cell. +44-7968-008474
Christiane Berthiaume, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41-22-9178564, Cell. +41-792857304
Ellen Gustafson, WFP/New York, Tel. +1-917-3675070, Cell. +1-917-6171276, gustafsone@un.org

For more information about the United Nations Foundation, please visit www.unfoundation.org

For more information about the Vodafone Group Foundation, please visit www.vodafonefoundation.org

 
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