February 2009 eNewsletter: Empowering Women as Key Change Agents


Dear Friends,

With International Women's Day just around the corner in early March, I want to share with you some of the successes achieved in just the past four weeks in our work to empower women as key change agents for the end of hunger and poverty:

  • The J'Pas Joloviletik Cooperative, formed by a group of our women partners, has become the first textiles handicrafts organization to receive fair trade certification in Mexico. Our partners played an important role in setting the guidelines for the certification of textile handicrafts, which will enable other grassroots women to avail of this opportunity.
  • In Ethiopia, with financial support from Rotary International, local Rotary Clubs in Ethiopia and The Hunger Project, community members in Jaldu Epicenter have almost completed a project to develop a safe water supply for over 6,000 villagers. Now, women and children will not need to travel three to six kilometers each day during dry season to fetch water, and community members will no longer be exposed to waterborne diseases.
  • In India, we held four workshops in which 140 women representatives, elected to their local village councils, emphasized how building and sustaining federations can help them use their strength in numbers to implement basic education and health programs.
  • In Bangladesh, in just one week alone, 19 child marriages were stopped due to interventions by Hunger Project volunteer leaders.

And if the above results aren't inspiring enough, three additional stories about our work to empower women and girls are featured below.

Every week, our partners in the field share with me such stories, and I continue to be amazed by this inspiring and growing record of accomplishment. With such a solid foundation, we intend to make 2009 a year of unprecedented achievement.

I very much hope you will partner with us in this endeavor by supporting our work and reaching out to others to share the successes of The Hunger Project.

Jill Lester
President and CEO

Supporting Healthy Mothers

A recent report on the State of the World's Children, published by UNICEF, highlighted the shocking information that in sub-Saharan Africa, 1 woman in 22 dies in childbirth; in South Asia, 1 in 59. In the developed world, this figure is 1 in 8,000. These statistics underline the magnitude of the work that is yet to be done to raise the status and address the basic needs of women throughout the developing world. Read more about the report and The Hunger Project's work to support healthy mothers and their children.

Fighting for the Rights of Girl Children

The Government of India declared January 24 as the Inaugural National Girl Child Day. Hunger Project partners in India are staunch advocates of the rights and liberties of the girl child. They fight for the education of each and every child, especially girl children, and campaign against female feticide and malnutrition. Read more about this declaration in India and our celebration of the girl child in Bangladesh.

Article on Ethiopian Women Food Farmer Published

An article on our work in Ethiopia was published in Bread for the World's 2009 hunger report, "Global Development: Charting a New Course." The article tells the story of Alamii Tufaa, a 22-year-old Ethiopian farmer, who, through the African Woman Food Farmer Initiative, can now proudly support her family and, for the first time, has enough savings to protect them in case of emergency. Read the full article.

Making a Difference

After participating in Hunger Project trainings, Shilpi Akter, a 25-year-old from Bangladesh, started a non-formal education center where about 50 men and women enrolled. They can now read. She arranged many courtyard meetings bringing the men and women together to discuss gender-related issues. She also arranged to send 30 children to school by convincing their parents of the benefit of education.

Read more about Shilpi.

Quote of the Month

...we were very shy, we never used to speak in public...[The Hunger Project] helped us develop confidence in working together and taking up leadership positions.

-Rural woman, Uganda