10 Women Beating Hunger
Zamalu Khatun lives in Kutupalong Camp in Bangladesh with her daughter, granddaughter and great granddaughter. Through WFP, Zamalu received 800 empty rice sacks that she was able to sell to local traders for US$44. This cash injection enabled her to run a small shop inside the camp. Life is looking up for her family.
Hiwot Gebre-Tsadka is a single mother of three. Until a few years ago, her land was covered by sand and unable to provide people with a living. Through a WFP programme, villagers built terraces and dams to stop water from carrying away top soil. Then they helped Hiwot build a well outside her house allowing her to grow fruit and vegetables. She has grown and earned more each year.
Isabel Lopez Morales, 37, is a subsistence farmer in San Pedro Jocopilas, in the chronically drought stricken Dry Corridor. Malnutrition rates top 60 percent in the area. To make ends meet, her husband leaves the family to do seasonal harvest work on the coast. Isabel stepped forward to receive WFP’s VitaCereal fortified maize soy meal in 2006 when she was pregnant with the 5th of her seven children. She has seen the positive effects on her youngest children, compared to their older and less fortunate siblings.
Florence Pierre was luckier than many in Haiti. She was unharmed in the January 2010 earthquake though her home in Jacmel was nearly destroyed. She now works on a WFP scheme clearing rubble from the city centre. Her daily wage of around US$5 is paid in a mix of cash and food. This means she is sure to have food on her table, but can also buy essentials like clothes and medicines. Florence hopes to save enough money to open a soda stand.
For Caroline, 15, receiving school meals gives her a chance to carry on and finish her studies. Along with her eight brothers and sisters living in Narok District, she receives a hot daily meal through WFP. “I love school so much that one day I’d like to become a teacher,” she says. But Caroline’s dream would be impossible if her parents didn’t have a good reason to send her to school. “If I didn’t receive meals at school I would probably have to stay home and help work on the land to provide food for my family”. Caroline’s favourite food is the lunches of bulgar wheat and beans. “It’s tasty and I just love it”
Phoebe, 25, is expecting her first child. Good nutrition right now is important not just for her, but for her unborn child. Before receiving WFP food rations she was underweight, anaemic and had fainting spells. At the hospital in Nyanza Province, south western Kenya, she received corn-soya blend mix, taught how to cook it and given tips on nutrition for herself and her baby. Her weight and iron levels are up, and she feels well enough to carry on her work as a hairdresser. “My baby is growing and thanks to WFP I’m hoping to have a healthy pregnancy”.
These mothers live in one of the Uzbek neighbourhoods that suffered the ethnic violence that erupted in Southern Kyrgyzstan in June. They barricaded themselves and their children into their neighbourhoods with cement blocks and trees. Soon they ran out of food and faced real hunger. WFP started food distribution in this area will continue to support them as they get back on their feet.
Selby Diouf, 28, collects raw salt in a bucket in the Fatick region of Senegal, and brings it ashore to dry. She works at Ndiémou where some 700 mainly female salt producers harvest around 500 tonnes of salt per month. Thanks to iodization machines and training provided by WFP and its partner MicroNutrient initiative, groups like Selby’s are earning more and helping the health of their community.
Parathachchelvi Navarajan,33, was able to return to her home in Northern Sri Lanka after the long civil conflict. Like most families, she and her daughter depend on firewood for cooking. But the forests around their village are full of uncleared land mines and unexploded munitions. Thanks to the energy-efficient SAFE stove she was given by WFP, she has cut her wood collection trips by half. The anagi stove uses not only firewood but coconut shells and palm leaves as fuel.
Joyce Banan has evolved from a subsistence farmer into a commercial farmer who is now selling her maize to WFP. Her yields have jumped from 8 bags of maize per hectre to 35 bags, meaning she can send her children to university. She said the programme, known as P4P, "helps set up warehouses and this not only allows us to store maize safely, it means we can bargain harder and sell later when the price is higher."
As mothers, workers, farmers and entrepreneurs, women are central in the fight against hunger. Here are ten different women who have escaped the grasp of hunger and taken control of their lives, with a little help and good nutrition.