By Edwin Nwanojuo
Putting women and girls front and centre in policy decisions and in programmes to tackle hunger and poverty is vital for reaching our goal of a Zero Hunger world by 2030. Reducing inequalities and removing barriers that exclude women from influencing development in all sectors advances food security.
This year’s UN theme for International Women’s Day – think equal, build smart, innovate for change – resonates with WFP’s gender-transformative approach: working to give everyone lives of dignity, choice and opportunities. For example, our integrated programmes using cash transfers contribute to reducing gender-based violence, strengthening women’s decision-making and increasing women’s leadership.
“International Women’s Day reminds us about the immense and valuable contribution women make towards a more peaceful, prosperous and well-fed world,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “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 milling machines project implemented by WFP in Borno State demonstrates how working with women and girls contributes towards food and nutrition security in Nigeria. Under the programme, 5,000 displaced families in Borno State received 766 milling machines from WFP to ease problems associated with processing grains.
“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,” says Myrta Kaulard, WFP Representative in Nigeria.
Gender continues to be a critical component of our work. WFP is constantly challenging 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.