|Defeating Hunger and Ignorance - Food Aid for the Education of Girls and Women (UNESCO - WFP, 34 p.)|
Education is a means of breaking the vicious circle of poverty. In fact, it has been demonstrated that education, of girls in particular, is one of the best investments in development in terms of cost-effectiveness. This booklet highlights the WFP Commitments to Women presented at the Beijing conference, notably where WFP undertook to invest at least 50% of our education resources in favour of girls and women, and explains how food aid can play a central role in their education.
For the poorest and hungriest parents, food aid can sometimes be the only means of sending their daughters to school, instead of using their labour in the daily grind of feeding the family. It is hoped that once the idea of schooling for girls is accepted, old habits will die out and girls will continue to benefit from education. The future can thus be brighter for girls, women, their families and their communities.
Executive Director, World Food Programme
The eve of the twenty-first century presents several major challenges - the persistence of poverty with its corollary of hunger and food insecurity, exclusion, unacceptable social differences, the degradation of the planets ecosystems. Education, of girls in particular, is the key to any strategy aiming to take on these challenges. Despite the progress made since the launching of the Education for All global alliance in 1990, access to education remains a vague and distant promise for the majority of young girls and women. To make good on our word, we need to mobilise all our efforts and resources and find the necessary political will. The voice of the people must resonate in parliaments and the media, hammer home each day that there can be no sustainable development without democracy, that is, without participation, that there can be no participation without sharing, without education, and that human rights, including the rights to education, justice and liberty, can only be guaranteed in a climate of peace and tolerance. Peace and non-violence are indispensable preconditions.
The World Food Programme has always been a privileged partner in UNESCOs efforts to promote education for all. In recent years, this cooperation has increasingly focused on the education of girls and women thus ensuring that such programmes fully benefit from the crucial contribution of food aid. UNESCO is proud to be associated with the World Food Programme to ensure that education becomes a reality for a growing number of girls and women. The face of peace is first and foremost female.