This post is my humble way of contributing to the cause of “Mother’s Day – Help a mother in developing nations”. Kindly take a look at the facts below and decide.
- More than 60 percent of chronically hungry people in the world – around 580 million people – are women. (Source: FAO)
- In 2008, 82% of WFP’s beneficiaries were women and children.
- Educated mothers have healthier families. Their children are better nourished, less likely to die in infancy and more likely to attend school. (Source: FAO)
- Increasing opportunities for mothers has a particularly strong impact on hunger because women devote much more of their income directly to feeding their families than men do. One study found that increasing women’s primary schooling could boost agricultural output by 24%. (Source: World Bank)
- As women have unequal access to resources, a food crisis – such as 2008’s high food and fuel prices crisis and the present financial crisis – only worsens the situation.
- Continuing high food prices have forced families to reduce their food intake while increasing the workload of women in order to earn more income to purchase food.
- Breaking the cycle of hunger and poverty at its roots begins with women. Hunger breeds insecurity and often exacerbates circumstances that lead to conflict and crisis, and creates situations where women and girls are often the victims of abuse, rape and violence.
- A quarter of all hungry people are children. All too often, child hunger is inherited: up to 17 million children are born underweight annually, the result of inadequate nutrition before and during pregnancy. (Source: Unicef)
- Around 50% of pregnant women in developing countries are anaemic. Lack of iron increases the risk of death of the mother at delivery, accounting for at least 20% of maternal mortality. (Source: Kraemer, K. and Zimmermann, M.B. Nutritional Anaemia, Sight and Life, 2007)
- Children born to iodine-deficient mothers have been shown to have an average 13.5 point lower IQ than children born to iodine-replete mothers. (Source: Bleichrodt, N. and Born, M.P. A Meta-analysis of Research on Iodine and its Rrelationship to Cognitive Development. The Damaged Brain of Iodine Deficiency, New York, Cognitizant Communication, 1994)
- As a result, women, and in particular expectant and nursing mothers, often need special or increased intake of food.
- The prevention of maternal and child undernutrition is a long-term investment that will benefit the present as well as the future generation.
- Women are the world’s primary food producers, yet cultural traditions and social structures often mean women are much more affected by hunger and poverty than men.
- In most developing countries women produce between 60 and 80% of food, but own less than 2% of the world’s titled land. (Source: Rural Development Institute)
- A mother will often be the last to eat – instead saving food for her children and other family members.
- There is a danger that mothers will engage in negative coping mechanisms, such as prostitution, in order to provide for their families in times of hardship.
What WFP Does to Help Mothers and Other Women
- As the world’s largest humanitarian organisation, WFP feeds the world’s hungriest and most vulnerable people – the overwhelming majority of whom are women and children.
- WFP’s policy on gender issues has been in place and guiding our work since the mid 80s.
- WFP uses a range of activities to empower mothers and their daughters, providing vital skills and income-earning opportunities through Food for Training and Food for Work programmes.
- WFP supports children and mothers by providing them with nutritious foods during the critical stages of their lives, including childhood and pregnancy. Our focus is not to just give any food, but to give quality, fortified foods to ensure that we contribute to the nutrient needs of newborns, pregnant and nursing women.
- WFP works with national governments, the African Union, FAO, IFAD and others to encourage increased sustainable food production and a ‘green revolution’ in Africa. Women smallholder farmers are key to unlocking this potential.
- WFP supports women smallholder farmers through our local purchasing of food. Half of WFP’s budget comes in the form of cash and we use 80% of that cash to purchase food from farmers in the developing world.
- WFP gives extra take-home food rations to girls in our school feeding programmes. This virtually guarantees that girls will attend school, even in cultures where women have had no access to education.
- In crisis and conflict situations WFP works closely with our female partners in implementing our projects, including food distributions. In 2008, 574,000 women were in leadership positions on food management committees, an increase of 140% over the previous year.
- In camps for refugees and IDPs we allocate family food vouchers to women, thus helping to protect them against abductions and violence. Also, the nutritional support we provide to formerly abducted children, especially girls, has facilitated their social reintegration and reduced their vulnerability to sexual exploitation and abuse.
Below are some articles talking about the issues facing women and mothers in developing nations: