Women make up a little over half of the world’s population but suffer unequal access to resources and education in every corner of the globe. Globally, women are more likely than men to suffer from hunger and food insecurity.
Yet women are also forceful agents when it comes ending hunger. In fact, ensuring female farmers have equal access to the tools and resources they need to prosper could decrease the number of people currently living in hunger and poverty by up to 150 million.
The World Food Programme (WFP) is committed to reducing inequality and empowering women with the means to command livelihoods.
1. Women in Enterprise training in Egypt
Sayyida Qenawi is a 40-year-old mother-of-three. Her business started as a makeshift stall outside her house. But after receiving micro-loans and training from WFP, she was able to expand her business. Now she has a shop.
Sayyida’s business initially struggled, however. But after her son joined a WFP-supported school, she and her husband were offered monthly cash assistance. Mothers who send their children to school are offered the chance to get training and microloans to start small businesses or grow an existing ones.
Sayyida’s shop is close to a main road, two schools, a church, a post office and community centre. “I have the best location and I am applying everything I learnt in the training,” she says. “I now even sell fresh bread that I buy and pack here and it sells out before it arrives. All the neighborhood and schoolchildren wait for me until I open in the morning. If I’m late or the shop is closed, they call me to ask when I will open,” she says, beaming. “And when I need money, I never touch the store’s cache!”
Now Sayyida can afford a lot more than she'd hoped for; she has no debts and takes care of all her children's expenses by herself.
2. Purchase for Progress scheme in Kenya
Mary is a 46-years-old small-business owner. She lives outside of Lodwar, in Northern Kenya. A mother of four, she has six grandchildren. Her family farms half an acre of irrigated land and can harvest up to 18 50kg bags of sorghum per year.