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Vivian Glyck

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Why Women Are the Key to Ending Hunger

Posted: 01/24/11 04:38 PM ET

Can the solution to hunger be attributed to one sex over the other? Is it really that cut and dry? If so, how do we maximize our efforts to support the findings?

According to the Hunger Project, "Women are the key to ending hunger in Africa."

This is a powerful statement. Is it just a headline to grab attention?

No matter what your economic level you have a budget in place and how well you manage it affects your family. The same is true all around the world. In the U.S. and in Uganda is getting out of poverty simply a matter of managing money?

As explained in a NewYorkTimes.com article by Nicholas Kristof :

"In many poor countries, the greatest unexploited resource isn't oil fields or veins of gold; it is the women and girls who aren't educated and never become a major presence in the formal economy. With education and with help starting businesses, impoverished women can earn money and support their countries as well as their families. They represent perhaps the best hope for fighting global poverty."


"A series of studies has found that when women hold assets or gain incomes, family money is more likely to be spent on nutrition, medicine and housing, and consequently children are healthier." Is this due to a maternal instinct or is there more to it? As the article suggests, "everyone benefits when women enter the work force and bring home regular pay checks. One reason involves the dirty little secret of global poverty: some of the most wretched suffering is caused not just by low incomes but also by unwise spending by the poor -- especially by men. Surprisingly frequently, we've come across a mother mourning a child who has just died of malaria for want of a $5 mosquito bed net; the mother says that the family couldn't afford a bed net and she means it, but then we find the father at a nearby bar. He goes three evenings a week to the bar, spending $5 each week."


The solution may seem simple, but the efforts needed are widespread. The quickest and most long-lasting solution to poverty in Uganda is through empowering women and girls.

"Investment in girls' education may well be the highest-return investment available in the developing world," Larry Summers wrote when he was chief economist of the World Bank.

It is critical that women become self-reliant as there is much evidence to prove that putting women in charge of household spending provides greater financial stability. There is tremendous benefit to teaching life skills coaching on topics such as women's rights and responsibilities, social survival skills, safety and security, health and hygiene. Through this type of awareness the girls can become leaders and role models to others in their community. Taking vulnerable girls and empowering them for life is a priceless education!

To learn about mentoring, empowerment and micro-enterprise programs being conducted in Uganda, please visit Just Like My Child.

To read more about the findings mentioned in this blog, read "The Woman's Crusade" from NewYorkTimes.com.


 

Follow Vivian Glyck on Twitter: www.twitter.com/justlikemychild