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close this bookOvercoming Global Hunger (WB)
close this folderSession three - targeted interventions: what works best to reduce hunger
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View the documentTargeted interventions: what works best to reduce hunger
View the documentDiscussant remarks
View the documentDiscussant remarks
View the documentWorkshop spokesperson remarks
View the documentWorkshop spokesperson remarks
View the documentFloor discussion

Workshop spokesperson remarks

Mildred Robbins-Leet

Our vision about gender equity recognizes that women are central to realizing the goals of this conference for overcoming global hunger and poverty We have heard this in extraordinary fashion from every one of the conference speakers If you noted, this morning the men on the platform made excellent speeches What was extraordinary, and a change, was that every one of them underlined the importance of women as a natural and essential component for erasing hunger and poverty That is a change Men and women are moving in the right direction Now we are talking words. But perhaps the words at this conference will soon be transformed into actions.

Some of the actions that emerged from the group discussing targeting interventions to reduce hunger included, for both the national and international communities, the design of programs that will help women to overcome constraints, and for the World Bank to give greater attention to women in their economic and sector analysis as well as in their poverty assessments Women should be an integral part of the programs, not an add-on.

On to the next vision, the empowerment of the poor. All our visions relate to people, their participation, and their resulting empowerment When we talked about empowerment of the poor, we recognized that providing disadvantaged groups, especially women, with greater access to information and education was imperative. For these disadvantaged groups we determined that this was one of the critical elements that could help people move up out of poverty.

We envisioned a redirection of resources to ensure basic education for all, and to provide gender neutral curricula, including an adequate focus on family planning, health, and nutrition.

When we talk about empowerment, it is the people's participation that is involved One of the means is through groups such as Ruth Engo Tjega cited when she talked about the Advocates for African Food Security. This international NGO has worked since 1986, and was initially concerned with lessening the burden for women and increasing food production It is currently involving people in examining their programs, working toward community-based decisions It is building antihunger structures in Africa The programs to alleviate poverty should be community-directed and should start with people finding out what works, what doesn't work, and moving on from there.

The other vision that I would Like to talk about is employment, because people are hungry, they are poor, and there just are not enough jobs in the world In whatever country we visit, there is unemployment and there is underemployment. Let us hope that we can have hill employment. That is a goal, a really big goal We are saying that one of the ways to achieve that is by self-employment, that is, to try to develop cost-effective mechanisms that provide opportunities for the poor to earn more income to reduce their hunger and to move them up and out of poverty by doing it themselves They help themselves by creating businesses of their own It is through such self-employment that women pro duce much of the food that sustains life for low-income people.

We had two long-term actions to suggest in regard to employment One was to increase the availability of working capital, training and technical assistance to the unemployed and underemployed, or, as we might call them "economically active poor." Another long-term goal was to give greater support to those sectors where the poor are predominately employed and that are often overlooked in programming.

And then a shorter-term goal, which we heard cited earlier today, the focus on food-for-work programs. They do work, sometimes, in the short term. There is a difference of opinion about this.

Ultimately, all people, women and men, should be involved in policy, planning, decision-making, and working. Together they just might be able to stay the course for humanity and make life better for more people, while employing the principles of equity, sustainable development, and democratic participation.