Rural Women Are Creating a Better Future for All

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What Will You Do in 2009?

It is the beginning of a new year, a time when many of us contemplate changes to improve our health, careers or relationships. Some of us may even be thinking of how we can make changes to improve our community or our world. For people living in hunger and poverty, just surviving is a daily struggle. And this struggle is endured most by rural women, who make up the majority of the world's poor and who bear almost all responsibility for meeting the basic needs of their families.

For these women, introducing change in their own lives is a challenge, let alone making improvements that benefit the wider community. Such actions take ingenuity, tenacity and courage. Yet, we see this behavior in women living in villages throughout the developing world every day.

The Hunger Project recognizes that it is the people in the developing world that are best placed to come up with answers to the challenges they face. They have both the talent and the will to take charge of their own lives. They know their own needs; they are fully aware of the resources their communities have and those they lack.

Hunger Project trainings provide women with the skill sets, methods and confidence they need to be effective in leading their communities to better health, education, food security and family income. Our trainings build on existing capacity, promote self-reliance, and empower people to develop and implement their own solutions. As a result, outcomes are sustainable, locally appropriate and enable people to meet all their basic needs.

We have countless examples of local women leaders whose knowledge and abilities have been unlocked with the support of Hunger Project programs. Not only are they now meeting their own basic needs and supporting their families, they are also working to improve conditions in their communities.

Sophie of Wakiso, Uganda used to spend all of her energies feeding her children, working in the field and collecting and carrying firewood. She sat for hours over an open fire, breathing in unhealthy smoke until, after having taken out a loan from The Hunger Project microfinance program, she developed a new type of oven. She has begun to sell her invention to other women. The oven is healthier for the women, reduces their drudgery significantly and is better for the environment.

Yadashii Battee, from Jaldu, Ethiopia was abducted and married off to her abductor at age 13. Two decades later, her husband left her to support their three children alone. In her quest to become self-reliant, she joined a Hunger Project loan group, took various Hunger Project trainings and started to make a reasonable livelihood from agriculture. She improved her family's health by building a latrine, was able to buy school supplies for her children, and initiated a support group with other women in her village. Together, they have started a business selling traditional foods.

B. Rani Devaraj, from Tamil Nadu, India, is the president of her village council (panchayat). After attending The Hunger Project's Women's Leadership Workshop, she learned how the political process works and how to deal with the challenges of her position. As a result, Rani brought sanitary latrines, access to safe drinking water and improved educational facilities to her community. She has gained access to government funding to lead the construction of 74 houses and repair of 48 houses, and she has brought free electricity to 83 families in her village.

While you are considering your resolutions for 2009, remember these courageous women and resolve, like them, to create a better future for all humanity. Becoming part of The Hunger Project is such an opportunity - learn how to get involved.

Read more stories of individuals who have transformed their own lives and the lives of others.

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