Why empowering women is prerequisite to eradicating malnutrition?

Last Wednesday, the second global consultation on biofortification conference winded up in Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali. Nutrition issue was was at the center of the three-day discussion — and as many would expect it be, the situation is not pretty at all.

healthy food (Photo: Internet)

healthy food (Photo: Internet)

Some of the facts presented revealed that malnutrition is still a cause of deaths of about 45% of children under 5 years old.

The same facts went on telling that lack of essential minerals and vitamins cause major challenges on the African continent. It is estimated that 12 Africans die every minute as a result of hunger and malnutrition. And that Africa has the highest prevalence of undernourishment in the world while 65% of arable land in the world is on the African continent. 80% of stunting children in the world live just in 14 countries, including 8 African countries.

And many argued that this entire shameful situation is happening due to poor performance of agriculture on the continent; given that it is the main source of livelihoods for many.

In my experience, women are the ones to deal with nutrition issues in many African countries. This means that the fact that malnutrition cases are still high, it’s an evidence that women (the ones dealing with kitchen issues) do not yet have all it takes to prepare complete diet.

It is also important to note that some people are facing malnutrition issues not because they lack food stuff, but simply because sometimes they do not have enough knowledge on nutritious food stuffs.

Once mums do not have knowledge on nutritious foods, obviously their kids become the first victims simply because they never get appropriate nutrition due to ignorance of their mums.

In my opinion, once women get educated good enough about nutrition issues and get empowered in agriculture, high chances are that they will increase their incomes from agricultural activities and will in turn spend wisely their incomes on nutrition; thus this will affect positively their kids and their families in general.

What many countries have been talking about gender equality, to me it would be wise to call it (and concentrate on) “empowering” women instead and I believe that these issues of malnutrition and hidden hunger would be eradicated completely.

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