Hunger Project India – Investing in female leadership
One in four people living with hunger live in India. Although India’s economy is growing fast, not everyone is reaping the rewards: every day around 194 million Indians have too little to eat, particularly in rural areas, even though hunger is one of the biggest solvable problems in the world. There is no lack of opportunities for reducing hunger. The Indian government itself has made good steps in this direction, and on paper it all looks very well organized. For the poorest, all kinds of schemes and subsidies are available if you know how to get them. From widows’ pensions to housing subsidies, from job programmes to school meals and food vouchers. The village councils play an important role here, as they decide who is eligible for this support. They record the villagers’ needs, identify who is entitled to a subsidy or a service, and then push to obtain these. Women are crucial in the battle to end hunger. They are often responsible for the food, not only for their own families but for the entire community. But they are not given a fair chance everywhere. Women have little or no access to education, money or influential positions, leaving so much potential unused – half of the population is in fact left out. According to Indian law a third of village council members should be women, and in some states even half. These women are elected for five years, and during this period are given intensive training and support by The Hunger Project India. The leadership programme ensures that they have the knowledge, skills and above all the confidence actually to use their influence. Without taking political sides, the programme gives women a voice.
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