Since the beginning of our DPRK Ministry in 1994, World Vision has expanded its assistance from school feeding programs to re-equipping medical facilities, helping communities achieve sustainable food security, improving access to clean water, and providing emergency relief.
Food for Life is an on-going project that started in 1994 at the height of the food shortage that devastated DPRK’s population. Through the Food for Life project, World Vision is able to provide lunches to children in their kindergartens and nurseries. By providing a steady source of food, World Vision can improve the health of children and prevent many short and long-term health problems associated with malnutrition. In FY19, WV North Korea provided over 850 MT of wheat flour and 30 MT of soybean oil to over 85,000 children in our target communities in South Pyongan Province, North Pyongan Province, and Ryanggang Province.
North Korean children's nutrition status remains a cause for concern despite improvements since the 1990s. According to UNICEF’s latest Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (2017), 19.1% of children who were surveyed suffered from stunting, 2.5% from wasting, and 0.5% severe wasting. The survey also found great disparity in the nutrition status of children in different geographic areas, with prevalence of stunting reach as high as 31.8% in Ryanggang province. The survey also addressed the critical importance of improving children’s access to diversified foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins. While our focus remains on providing wheat flour to our beneficiaries, World Vision has donated soy oil pressing machines and soymilk machines in the past, along with intermittent supplies of soybean and soy oil.
Provision of flour to feed children is a short-term, but a necessary, solution to DPRK’s on-going food insecurity. Alongside Food for Life, World Vision’s long-term agricultural development projects include seed-potato development, vegetable fertigation, community greenhouses, and an organic fertilizer plant. These programs focus on technology transfer and local empowerment as the main way to equip North Koreans to meet their own food needs. World Vision has helped to develop 5 hydroponic greenhouse farms for growing tomatoes, cucumbers, and potatoes. To find out more about WVK’s work in agricultural development, please visit WVK’s website.
Water for Life Initiative
According to UNICEF, poor sanitation, water scarcity, inferior water quality and inappropriate hygiene behavior are disastrous for infants and young children and are a major cause of mortality for children under five.
The 2017 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey suggested that the incidence of diarrhoea, which is often caused by contaminated water and is a leading contributor to malnutrition and death among children, affects over one in ten North Korean children. The survey also found that over one-third of household drinking water is contaminated. The situation is especially dire in rural areas, where nearly half of children are still exposed to significant risks of illness and malnourishment.
Since 2005, World Vision has built approximately 30 clean water systems in 5 rural communities in North Hwanghae and North Pyongan Provinces. These systems include a variety of gravity fed systems as well as solar powered systems, and connect each household in the community to a source of clean water. Community buildings such as schools, nurseries, are clinics are also directly connected to a source of safe drinking water. Hygienic demonstration latrines were also constructed to promote health in the community.
Looking forward, we plan to continue constructing clean water systems and public latrines in additional communities, and promote sanitation, health, and hygiene.
Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs
DPRK is highly vulnerable to disasters, particularly flooding and landslides during the summer monsoon months, a situation that is made worse by deforestation. World Vision has provided emergency relief to tens of thousands of disaster-affected households, including reconstruction of water systems and provision of tarpaulins, medicines and medical supplies, wool blankets, food, and water purification materials.
Between 2008 and 2009, World Vision was one of five American organizations that implemented a large-scale emergency food program, funded by the US government. As a part of a partnership among the 5 NGOs, World Vision delivered 100,000 MT of food to nearly 900,000 beneficiaries in 25 select counties in North Pyongan and Chagang provinces.
In 2016 and 2017, World Vision provided assistance to families affected by Typhoon Lionrock by delivering much needed items such as wheat flour, soy-based foods, building material, blankets, and soaps.