about the author
Youth Outreach Coordinator
HI – My name is Graham Bell. I have been an educator for the last 13 years, teaching at both primary and secondary levels in the UK and in international schools.
We are calling on you to take action in the days running up to World Food Day. Each day counting down to October 16, we will issue a daily challenge as part of our A Billion for a Billion campaign and the ONE Campus Challenge.
Action: Tweet the facts or post them to Facebook. Post and highlight why it’s important to put food in the hands of a woman!
Women and children are the hardest hit by the global hunger crisis that affects an unprecedented one billion people today. Inherited hunger, when malnourished mothers give birth to malnourished children, is a huge impediment to development.
On the flip side, women are also the key to unlocking sustainable solutions to hunger and poverty. Women not only cook for their families. They sow, reap and harvest food — comprising well over half of all farmers worldwide (eight of 19 in Africa, six out of 10 in Asia).
Our experience at the World Food Programme shows that in the hands of a woman, food is far more likely to reach the mouths of needy children. That’s why, in emergencies such as the disastrous flooding in the Philippines, we channel our relief through women whenever and wherever feasible. More than half of the people we feed, globally, are women and children.
Women are also crucial to speed recovery after catastrophe strikes, and to work as partners in developing their communities so that they can withstand future shocks such as climate change-aggravated drought and flooding. Read Samya’s story.
That’s another reason we zero in on girls in our school meals programs, as experts agree that educating women and girls is the cornerstone of economic and social development and smashes the cycle of inherited hunger.
We’ve found that girls’ enrollment shoots up 28 percent on average when we introduce meals at schools, while take-home rations of cooking oil or maize raise the status of girls to “breadwinners” within their families, especially in societies where girls get “second shrift” in education behind the boys. Check out our October 4 post that tells the story of Fatuma, a young Somali refugee who — empowered by meals at school — bootstrapped her way into one of Kenya’s top private schools.
The World Food Day Action Countdown is the result of a joined initiative between the Billion for a Billioncampaign (calling for the online billion ot help the hungry billion) and the ONE Campus Challenge (that invites university students to take part in the fight against hunger for credits).