“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.”
In Sierra Leone, in order to contribute towards improved nutrition status in women, WFP implements a moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) treatment programme for pregnant and lactating women (PLW) in Bonthe, Kambia, Kenema and Port Loko districts. WFP provides PLWs a three-month supplementary feeding package of Super Cereal, a highly nutritious corn-soya blend fortified with milk, vitamins and minerals and vegetable oil. The use of these highly fortified blended foods helps to address the macro and micronutrient deficiencies to support nutrition recovery from MAM.
In light of the increase in teenage pregnancies, teenage mothers are also provided with a six-month food ration regardless of their nutritional status as a preventative measure to avoid low weight babies being born.
To improve the nutritional status of women and girls, WFP in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry are supporting women farmers to cultivate vitamin A rich orange fleshed sweet potato and yellow cassava. WFP’s support to women farmers includes providing orange flesh sweet potato vines and yellow cassava stems, in addition to training on improved cultivation methods. This initiative will contribute toward improving the nutritional status of women and girls.
“At the World Food Programme, we believe that women and girls who are empowered will lead to our ultimate goal, a world with zero hunger. Women and their work are central to the production, preparation and provision of food, so are essential to food and nutrition security,” said WFP Officer-in-Charge / Deputy Country Director, Yasuhiro Tsumura.
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 teenage 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.