The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), World Food Program USA and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held a notable gathering with Liberian government leaders in Monrovia on Monday, January 15, 2024. The meeting was attended by World Food Program USA President and CEO Barron Segar, Church Africa West Area President Elder S. Gifford Nielsen, and a delegation representing the organizations including Elder Alfred Kyungu, second counselor in the Africa West Area Presidency. The leaders discussed joint efforts to help Liberians with food insecurity.
Liberia is still reeling from a 14-year civil war (1989–2003) that decimated national infrastructure and basic social services. Today, nearly 84% of the families in this country of 5.5 million people live on less than US$1.25 a day, and 47% of households are food insecure.
“The need is great, let’s not mince words,” said Liberia Minister of Agriculture Jeanine Milly Cooper, who welcomed the leaders to Liberia. “This is not a wealthy country. Besides the war, we’ve also had two pandemics — Ebola and COVID. … [Collaborations] such as what we enjoy with WFP and now with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — these are critical.”
In 2022, the Church of Jesus Christ provided funds to help the World Food Program USA boost WFP’s multiyear effort to assist Liberians. The Church’s donation is helping 750 farmers in 25 towns across 15 areas of Liberia grow more food, eat better, and generate more income.
WFP and the Church have worked together for a decade and are embarking on a weeklong field trip across parts of Liberia to see how this strong collaboration, paired with government assistance, is helping Liberians.
“This is a treat for us to have joined together in such a worthy cause,” Elder Nielsen said to Segar. “When we work together with likeminded organizations like the World Food Programme, it is a tremendous benefit not only to us to have this kind of relationship and this kind of a friendship, but also to help all of Heavenly Father’s sons and daughters in this area.”
Elder Nielsen said the Africa West Area seeks to help people become more self-reliant.
“We’re trying to teach educational principles. We’re helping lift people so they can help lift others,” Elder Nielsen said.
That approach aligns perfectly with what WFP wants to do.
“Young people and families don’t want a handout — they want a hand up,” Segar said. Thank you for spending your week with us to see some of the transformational work we’re doing together to lift up communities across Liberia. We couldn’t do it without your generous support.”
The Church of Jesus Christ’s work with WFP goes far beyond Liberia. A staggering 345 million people worldwide face acute food insecurity, with 50 million on the brink of famine. WFP has used funds from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (including the faith’s 2022 donation of $32 million) to provide food and other critical assistance to the world’s most vulnerable people, including mothers and young children, in other countries. These include Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen and many others.
The Church and WFP have collaborated since 2014. In 2019, former WFP Executive Director David Beasley toured the Church’s welfare operations in Salt Lake City. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the two organizations worked together to fill hunger gaps.
“Private sector support is critical to our mission, enabling WFP to scale food assistance and resilience work that brings families stability and comfort during these challenging times. At this time of unprecedented global need, we are grateful for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ transformational gift,” said Segar after the 2022 donation.
About the World Food Programme
The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
World Food Program USA, a 501(c)(3) organization based in Washington, D.C., proudly supports the mission of the United Nations World Food Programme by mobilizing American policymakers, businesses and individuals to advance the global movement to end hunger. Our leadership and support help to bolster an enduring American legacy of feeding families in need around the world. Learn more about World Food Program USA’s mission at wfpusa.org.
About Humanitarian Services of the Church of Jesus Christ
The Church’s 2022 annual report on caring for those in need shows that the faith’s efforts to care for those in need included more than $1 billion in expenditures, 6.3 million hours volunteered and 3,692 humanitarian projects in 190 countries and territories.
The humanitarian efforts of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints relieve suffering, foster self-reliance and provide opportunities for service. The Church follows the admonition of Jesus Christ to feed the hungry and care for those in need.
This humanitarian outreach is made possible by the generous donations and volunteerism of Latter-day Saints and friends of the faith. The Church gives assistance without regard to race, religious affiliation or nationality. Aid is based on the core principles of personal responsibility, community support, self-reliance and sustainability.