Would you have guessed that, with a simple meal, we can help to empower women and improve the living standards of entire communities? Our global partner, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), is proving this to be possible!
Through its Home-Grown School Feeding initiative, supported by Stop Hunger, women are empowered to take an active role in producing and supplying healthy snacks and meals for local schools.
Let’s discover two inspiring examples in action.
Republic of Congo: mbala pinda
In the Republic of Congo, Stop Hunger has supported WFP to train 160 female food processors on how to enhance their production of food, and gain increased access to local markets.
The women successfully learned to produce and distribute “mbala pinda”, a nutritious energy bar made from cassava paste and peanut butter. Being rich in protein and micronutrients, WFP provides these bars to vulnerable populations, including school children.
The group also gained skills in management and marketing, group organization, food safety and hygiene practices, and learned how to manage and maintain processing equipment produced by local artisans who are also supported by WFP.
The sale of mbala pinda boosts the women’s incomes, while offering 3,400 school children a locally made, energy-rich, and nutritious snack. Using vouchers provided by WFP, schools buy the mbala pinda directly from the women food processors.
Due to their success, the women are planning to expand production and connect with transporters, to find new markets for their product.
“This is how I survive when times are hard. I make, I prepare, I sell mbala pinda… this is how I feed my little family,” affirmed Misette Ntoko, leader of a mbala pinda cooperative.
Bolivia: quinoa bars
In Bolivia, WFP has been providing training to women, supporting them to produce and commercialize food items whilst adhering to strict food safety and quality standards.
With support from Stop Hunger, 48 women have received the training and equipment they need to increase production capacity and adapt to new COVID-19-related biosecurity regulations, allowing them to access government procurement systems and market their products.
The 48 women from two smallholder associations are now producing nutritious quinoa bars and cookies, which are approved by the national health services. This has opened new sales opportunities for them: they are official suppliers to local schools and have gained access to national contracts.
"Quinoa nougats or fortified quinoa biscuits are local products that, in addition to improving the economy of each locality, contribute to the consumption of local, healthy and ancestral products," said WFP Representative Alejandro López-Chicheri.
This article is part of a series exploring WFP’s Home-Grown School Feeding initiatives supported by Stop Hunger.
Photo credits: Congo: ©Alice Rahmoun, WFP; Bolivia: ©Ananí Chavez,WFP