ROME -- Mothers have a crucial role to play in the fight against hunger. As a child’s first and most important source of nourishment, strong, healthy mothers are the best guarantee of strong, healthy children.
That’s why WFP does its utmost to support vulnerable mothers and their children. In fact, every year, around 80 percent of WFP’s food aid goes to help them.
As many countries prepare to celebrate Mother's Day on May 9, we're highlighting four ways in which food assistance can help a mother:
1. By nourishing her and her child
- Malnourished mothers frequently give birth to underweight babies.
- Underweight babies are 20 times more likely to die before they reach the age of five than heavier babies.
- Proper nutrition in the first two years means kids avoid possible damage to their physical growth and mental development.
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2. By keeping her child in school
- 75 million school age children do not attend school.
- Parents in poor countries often don’t send kids to school so they can help earn money for food.
- In Kenya, school enrollment is 28% higher in schools that have meal programmes than in those without them.
3. By helping her live with HIV/AIDS
- Malnutrition exacerbates the effects of HIV and hastens AIDS-related illnesses.
- Adults with HIV need up to 30% more energy than a healthy adult without HIV.
- It costs only US $0.87 cents per day to give an HIV-postive mother and her newborn baby the nutritious food they need.
4. By giving her training or work
- About two-thirds of the 776 million adults who lack basic literacy skill are women.
- The UN Development Fund for Women lists training and work as a key route to female empowerment.
- In 2009, 2.1 million women received WFP food while they participated in training or community work projects.