JUBA, July 16 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan and the World Food Program (WFP) on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding that seeks to boost food security in the conflict-torn nation through implementation of gender-transformative agricultural interventions.
Under the framework, the WFP will work with the South Sudanese Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare to design, develop and implement interventions aimed at empowering communities to produce their own food instead of relying on emergency food aid.
The agreement also seeks to increase women's participation in decision-making and implementation of food security and nutrition programs.
Adnan Khan, WFP representative in South Sudan, said the agreement would usher in an era of mutual cooperation with the government on issues related to social protection, gender equality, community-based planning and building of databases for vulnerable people.
"Our emphasis is to look at a prosperous future of South Sudan where WFP will no longer be handing out food in emergency context but will be looking at food as an instrument of development," Khan said.
"We need transformative changes, changes that re-distribute power among women and men. It is only with equality and empowerment that food security and nutrition for all people, without distinction, becomes possible," Khan added.
Acting Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare Nadia Arop Dudi said the framework would be key to ending aid dependency in the east African country.
"When our young ladies and mothers are empowered, it means there is transformation and improvement of lives in the grassroots," Dudi said.
Oil-rich South Sudan has been torn apart by war since 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.
The civil war has displaced more than 4 million South Sudanese internally and externally. More than 7 million others, half of the country's population, face the risk of starvation, according to the United Nations.