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Iranian news agency joins WFP in fight against hunger

Tehran, May 15, IRNA - The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) announced a new partnership with Iran's Cultural Heritage News Agency (CHN) which will work to generate greater awareness of hunger throughout the world and to increase contributions from the public to WFP's operation and activities, the United Nations Information Center said in a press release here on Tuesday.

As part of the agreement signed last week, WFP and CHN launched a Tourism Against Hunger campaign in which the news agency, whose 100 journalists and photographers specialize on covering issues related to Iran's cultural heritage and tourism, will provide news coverage of all relevant WFP activities throughout the country.

CHN will also provide technical assistance to develop WFP's Persian/English website, provide translation services as well as help develop a local advocacy strategy that will include the production of news packages, publications and advertisements.

CHN has also placed WFP's banner on its official website. The total value of CHN's advocacy campaign is dlrs 36,000.

"The partnership between WFP and CHN is yet another sign of how WFP can work with the private sector in raising awareness. This kind of cooperation could be used as a model for advocacy and fund raising in other developing countries where WFP works," said Robert Hauser, WFP's representative in Iran, during the signing ceremony of the agreement.

In 2003, WFP decided to broaden its funding base by reaching out to private donors and corporations and building new and innovative relationships that align the humanitarian agency's core strengthens with the expertise of the private sector.

WFP has since acquired several major partners, such as TNT, Citigroup and Danone among others, and has sought to expand its activities through more than 20 new funding initiatives.

In Iran, the first private company to sign on to work with WFP was the Novin Saffron company, the leading producer and exporter of high quality Iranian saffron, with a cash donation and percentage of annual sales benefiting WFP projects.

In May 2006, WFP established a partnership with Pasargadae Gallery on awareness-building in which a percentage of art sales go to benefit WFP projects in Iran.

"We strongly believe that for starting any influential movement, we should first provide the required cultural infrastructures. As the next step and through proper communications we can elaborate on the subject. This has always been our method ever since our start as a professional cultural news agency, and it has led to beneficial activities [for the public] with successful results," said Marjan Sheikholeslami, managing director of CHN.

WFP opened an office in Iran in 1971 and was active in several projects requiring food assistance until 1979. At the request of the government, WFP resumed activities in 1987 and today provides food assistance to 26,396 Afghan refugees and 4,824 Iraqi refugees. In addition, in 2003, WFP provided emergency food assistance to nearly 100,000 survivors of the Bam earthquake and who were gradually able to re-establish their livelihood.

To date, donors to WFP's operation in Iran are Japan (five million dollars), Switzerland (dlrs 757,000) United Kingdom (dlrs 313,000) and Australia (dlrs 158,000).

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency. They 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.

... Payvand News - 5/16/07 ...

... Payvand News - 5/16/07 ... --

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