IWD: Women crucial to eliminating hunger, poverty – WFP

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As the world marks the 2019 International Women Day, IWD, the World Food Programme (WFP) has said that making women and girls a priority in policy decisions and in programmes to tackle hunger and poverty is vital for reaching the goal of a Zero Hunger world by 2030.

The UN agency also said that reducing inequalities and removing barriers that exclude women from influencing development in all sectors advances food security.

According to the Executive Director of the agency, David Beasley, “International Women’s Day reminds us about the immense and valuable contribution women make towards a more peaceful, prosperous and well-fed world.

“All around the globe, WFP programmes help empower women so they can have more opportunities to not just improve their lives, but those of their families, communities and nations.”

The United Nations has since 1975 declared March 8 as International Women’s Day. The theme for the 2019 is “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”.

According to WFP Nigeria, the theme resonates “with WFP’s gender-transformative approach: working to give everyone lives of dignity, choice and opportunities.”

The agency said that its integrated programmes in the North-East of Nigeria using cash transfers contribute to reducing gender-based violence, strengthening women’s decision-making and increasing women’s leadership.

WFP said the milling machines project implemented by WFP in Borno State demonstrates how working with women and girls contributes towards food and nutrition security in Nigeria.

Recall that 5,000 displaced families in Borno State received 766 milling machines from WFP to ease problems associated with processing grains in 2018.

WFP Representative in Nigeria, Myrta Kaulard said; “By processing grains such as sorghum and millet for others as well as for their own food needs, the families generate some income to maintain the milling machines. The milling machines also save time and energy for the users, especially for vulnerable women and girls who face a lot of difficulties in accessing milling services in the conflict-affected communities.”

The agency said that gender is a critical component of its work, stressing that WFP constantly challenge the status quo and working to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment through its programmes.

“School feeding programmes have demonstrated an increase in nutrition and education among girl students and contributed to a decrease in teen pregnancy and child marriage. Our Food for Assets projects have empowered women who now are able to work in their communities, feed their families, sell their produce and contribute towards the development of themselves and their families,” said the agency.

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