MAPUTO – Every year, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) provides more than eleven million schoolgirls with food to help keep them in education and around three million vulnerable women with special nutritional support. This year, on International Women’s Day (March 8), WFP is celebrating how empowering women can boost global efforts to end hunger.
“Giving women the power to make choices over their lives is one of the first steps towards a world with zero hunger,” said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin. “In every country where WFP works, women are front and centre in programmes to tackle the problems of food insecurity and undernutrition. We work with women farmers, traders, nutrition workers, school cooks and we serve millions of schoolgirls, pregnant women and nursing mothers.”
This year’s United Nations theme for International Women’s Day stresses that “equality for women is progress for all.” One example of a WFP programme that focuses on women’s advancement is Purchase for Progress, or P4P, which helps smallholder farmers, particularly women, become competitive players by producing good quality food for sale and having greater access to local markets.
In Mozambique, WFP is implementing gender activities mainly under its Purchase for Progress initiative. The main goal is to contribute to women’s empowerment through capacity building enabling smallholder farmers, many of whom are women, to access markets..
“Women are excluded from many activities and opportunities,” says Abdoulaye Baldé, WFP Country Director in Mozambique. “In fact, households headed by women, particularly widows in rural areas, are more likely to suffer from poverty as they have fewer resources and less income sources”.
In 2013, through WFP’s P4P initiative in Mozambique, more than 300 women farmers, agricultural workers and partners were trained in improved agricultural practices, animal traction, gender awareness and fund management. In the central provinces of Mozambique, they received bicycles, oxen, oxcarts, animal drawn weeders, and ploughs.”
A report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that closing the gender gap in agriculture by giving women farmers more resources could bring the number of hungry people in the world down by more an estimated 100 million people. The State of Food and Agriculture 2010-2011 report found that women lacked access to land, credit, tools and seeds that could boost agricultural production.
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WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. On average, WFP reaches more than 90 million people with food assistance in 80 countries each year.
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Abdoulaye Baldé (E-mail: email@example.com);
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