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. Sayyida from Egypt: WFP Women in Enterprise trainings
Sayyida Qenawi is a 40-year-old mother-of-three. Her business started as a make-shift stall outside of her house. But after receiving micro-loans and training from WFP, Sayyida was able to expand her business to a store front.
Sayyida’s business initially did not take off. But after her son joined a WFP- supported school, she and her husband were offered monthly cash assistance, which both supports them and serves as an incentive. Mothers are offered the chance to get training and microloans to start a small business or grow an existing one.
Today, Sayyida’s shop is close to the highway and near two schools, a church, the post office and a community centre. “I have the best location and I am applying everything I learnt in the training. 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 hoped for; she has no debts, and no one pays for her children Shaimaa, Mohamed and Abdallah’s needs but herself.
2. Mary from Kenya: WFP Purchase for Progress scheme
Mary Akamais is a 46-years-old small business owner. She lives outside of Lodwar, in Northern Kenya. She is a mother-of-four, and has six grandchildren. Her family farms half an acre of irrigated land and can harvest up to 18 bags of sorghum per year, each weighing 50 kg.