Projects that help women farmers to grow more and better food have proven to be an effective means of empowering them as players in the market and decision makers in the communities. Copyright:WFP/Riccardo Gangale
Governments and aid experts are meeting in the Korean city of Busan this week to look for ways to make international aid more effective. Food assistance is a critical part of that discussion and WFP, which has 50 years of experience fighting hunger worldwide, is there to contribute what it has learned. From school meals to e-vouchers, here are eight examples of aid that WFP’s experience has shown to be effective.
1. School meals help kids learn
Providing free meals for children in school means they get the food they need to concentrate on their lessons. It also means they stay in school and get an education, which will help them escape poverty and hunger.
2. Take-home rations keep girls in school
Giving take-home rations of rice or oil to girls who come to school is a further incentive for parents to send their daughters to school, instead of having them stay at home. Educated girls today means stronger families in the future.
3. Training gives women livelihoods
By giving poor women food rations in return for attending training courses in gardening, bee-keeping or other skills helps give them a means to support themselves and their families in the years ahead.
4. Nourishing mothers means healthy babies
Providing the right sorts of nutritious food to women when they are pregnant or breast-feeding ensures their children get the nutrients they need to develop healthy minds and bodies.
5. Nutritious food helps fight AIDS
People living with HIV need all the energy and nutrition they can get so that their bodies can fight the virus and absorb the anti-retroviral drugs that form part of their treatment.
6. Vouchers enable urban hungry to eat
When there is food in the markets, but poor people simply can’t afford it, then food vouchers can help ensure vulnerable families get the food they need. They also help support the local economy.
7. Food relief saves lives after disasters
Providing emergency food rations after an earthquake or a flood can save thousands of lives. It can also keep children out of malnutrition, thus safeguarding their physical and mental development.
8. Supporting farmers strengthens communities
Giving training and support to smallholder farmers, helping them to connect better to markets, helps communities develop resilient food production systems that will be able to resist occasional shocks.