Food security
Read caption Mary Achol is an internally displaced person in Mingkman, South Sudan. She is trying to cultivate the land she has been given but the rain as been absent and hence her crops are not growing as expected. Photo: NRC

Food security

Published 22. May 2016
Securing food in times of crisis.

Food shortages can be both a cause and an effect of conflict. For those fleeing their homes, a lack of food creates suffering, stigma, and a risk to life.

What is food security?

To enjoy food security is to have safe and nutritious food on a regular basis – physically, economically and socially. Not having enough to eat is a reality for many displaced people. As they escape danger, buying and producing food becomes extremely difficult.

In a city, brothers can be forced to take on risky work in order to afford food that day. In a rural area, a night in a makeshift camp can turn into years of displacement, where a single mother finds it hard to make a living.

In short- and long-term cases, it's important for food security projects to have longevity. Activities must nourish the body, fuel everyday life and, where possible, support the local economy and people displaced.

People reached in 2016

Cash and vouchers

USD 13,615

value of food cash/vouchers distributed

Food distribution


people benefitted from our food security projects



kilos of food distributed

Our work on food security

NRC creates safety nets to safeguard basic means for survival. These safety nets help hold displaced people up as they combat hunger or venture into more safe, alternative livelihoods.

Out of respect for different cultural preferences, we enter into dialogue with displaced people and host communities to find a response that best suits their dietary needs and priorities. We especially consider the needs of women and children, who often struggle the most to feed themselves in times of crisis.

NRC’s food security activities span 12 countries, where our food experts work in emergencies, chronic crises, and in cases of resettlement. We use cash and vouchers where possible, to give displaced families the freedom of choice in what they eat.

What we do
  • In acute emergencies, we distribute food baskets, cash and vouchers.
  • In lasting crises, we distribute farming items, cash grants and vouchers.
  • We provide nutrient supplements where needed.
  • We arrange food fairs and agricultural fairs where people can buy food, household items, seeds and farming tools.
  • We give training on food production techniques in rural and urban areas, including school gardening and livestock keeping.
  • We give training on microenterprise and entrepreneurial development, nutrition and hygiene, and environmental conservation.
  • We assist the resumption of local economic activities, to enhance long-term food security and self-reliance.