Women & Girls Empowerment
End hunger – start with women.
Women bear almost all responsibility for meeting basic needs of the family, yet are systematically denied the resources, information and freedom of action they need to fulfill this responsibility.
The vast majority of the world’s poor are women. Two-thirds of the world’s illiterate population are female. Of the millions of school age children not in school, the majority are girls. And today, HIV/AIDS is rapidly becoming a woman’s disease. Women comprise nearly 60 percent of all people living with HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Around the world, millions of people eat two or three times a day, but a significant percentage of women eat only once. Many women deny themselves even that one meal to ensure that their children are fed. These women are already suffering the effects of even more severe malnutrition, which inevitably will be their children’s fate as well.
Studies show that when women are supported and empowered, all of society benefits. Their families are healthier, more children go to school, agricultural productivity improves and incomes increase. In short, communities become more resilient.
The Hunger Project firmly believes that empowering women to be key change agents is an essential element to achieving the end of hunger and poverty. Wherever we work, our programs aim to support women and build their capacity.
By providing women food farmers easy access to credit, adequate training and instilling in them the importance of saving, The Hunger Project’s Microfinance Programme enables women to engage in income-generating activities to increase their incomes and invest in their families and communities.
“We all know that women have always centred their actions and lives around their families and communities. As primary caregivers they have always taken actions to meet the basic nutritional needs and health of their families. Therefore, there cannot be a more potent and direct relationship between women’s thoughts, concerns and actions and the well-being of their family/community” says Rita Sarin, Global Vice President and Country Director of The Hunger Project India.
“As a development practitioner working in the field of social development for over 40 years, I am convinced that women-focussed and women-centred strategies are key to ending hunger, poverty, and inequity across the globe ” says Sarin.
Photo by Johanna Lingaas Türk
“When more women occupy decision-making positions, a mindset of concern and inclusive development for all starts. Equipped with the right skills, knowledge and processes so they can access systems, women leaders not only become articulate in their vision, thoughts, and action but they also strive to leave no stone unturned in achieving the ‘last mile delivery’. By adopting inclusive and equitable development strategies, women leaders tackle the issues of extreme hunger and poverty in their communities, as well as help create and sustain an equal and just society.”
Our work has shown that whenever women are in decision-making positions, their first action is to address hunger, malnutrition, hygiene and sanitation in their families and communities, followed by safe drinking water and education. These are the basic needs for any community to survive and develop.
In India, our Women’s Leadership Workshop has empowered 83,000 women elected to local councils to be effective change agents in their villages. They are forming district- and state-wide federations to ensure that their voices are heard at top levels of government.
In Bangladesh, we catalyzed the formation of a 300-organization alliance that organizes more than 800 events across the country each September in honour of National Girl Child Day, a day to focus on eradicating all forms of discrimination against girl children.
“Let me state unequivocally that you empower a woman and the whole village and community develops, and if you do not invest in her skills and capacities as the change maker, generations will suffer from hunger and malnutrition, as is evident today” says Sarin.
Inspired? Invest now to empower women
Photography credit: banner image – Johannes Ode