ABUJA – Women and girls, especially in rural communities, continue to face the brunt of the climate crisis that exacerbates pre-existing inequalities, jeopardizes their food security and feeds instability and migration, warns the United Nations World Food Programme on International Women’s Day.
International Women’s Day 2022 focuses on “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” recognizing the contribution of women and girls around the world who play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Women and girls often lack appropriate access to disaster information, financial services and participation in community decision-making and resource allocation. Such inequalities undermine the ability of women to prepare for, cope with and recover from climate shocks and stresses.
“Women are the bedrock of food security and yet are hardest hit by climate shocks and food insecurity,” said WFP’s Assistant Executive Director, Valerie Guarnieri. “A sustainable future is only possible when women and girls have what they need to adapt to the changing climate.”
In Nigeria, WFP worked with UN Women and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to implement a resilience development and livelihoods project funded by the European Union (EU). The project supported some 140,000 conflict-affected households in Borno State, including over 53,000 female-headed households, with the skills and inputs to restart their agriculture-based livelihoods activities and enhance food security. The key aims of the initiative are to boost food security and to empower the benefitting households with various inputs to restart agricultural production in the state.
Under the project, WFP provided cash transfers to the supported households to safeguard investments in agriculture and sustain the food consumption levels of the families. Some of the cash was provided through bank accounts, thereby contributing to financial inclusion among the vulnerable populations. Equally, the fresh food vouchers component of the project helped to link the local farmers to the consumers who are vulnerable to food and nutrition insecurity.
In a year when humanitarian needs are on an upward trend and aid agencies are stretched thin, supporting communities vulnerable to the harsh realities of the climate crisis is the need of the hour.