The Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati, says poverty is the biggest pandemic that Malawians must work together in ending.
Kaliati made the remarks at Gogo Full Primary School in Dowa during activities to mark this year’s World Food Day and International Day for Rural Women.
The day recognizes the social and economic achievements of women and girls in rural areas and their contribution to the world’s food systems. This year’s theme is “Rural Women Cultivating Good Food for All.”
Kaliati said despite the country making strides other sectors of life, women and girls, particularly those living in rural settings; continue living in dire conditions, with majority of them failing to access their basic needs.
“As a country, we have waged war against different diseases and we have won in some cases. We have done well in fighting sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhoea and Aids. But we have miserably failed to fight poverty, especially among women,” said the minister.
Kaliati called for collaboration among all stakeholders to address destitution among rural women.
Chairperson for the Rural Women’s Assembly (RWA) in Malawi Chapter, Alice Kachere, lamented that rural women are being marginalized in the implementation of various social and economic empowering interventions.
RWA is a movement of African farmers, peasants, smallholders, fisherwomen and farmworkers who argue that if they are supported with related resources- land, water, markets, financial resources and the policy environment is conducive, they have the potential to make a change.
Kachere cited the National Economic Empowerment Fund (NEEF) where she disclosed that rural women are not benefiting from the fund.
“We have been calling upon the government to address social and economic inequalities that tend to disadvantage rural women and children. But where we have a fund that turns to sideline women, then we have all the reasons to be worried,” she said.
Kachere also reiterated her challenge for rural women to take advantage of this year’s commemoration to shame the governments, the institutions that allow this level of poverty, inequality and hunger to co-exist with obscene wealth and waste.
She said rural women do not need to wait any longer to demand urgent change that puts people before profits, we want to be well and we want to defend the climate and advance food sovereignty, seed sovereignty and living simply but with wellness and without hunger.
A global report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations estimated 870 million people are facing hunger worldwide and they are mainly in the rural areas.
FAO released the report on Wednesday as part of activities to mark both World Food Day and International Day for Rural Women.
The organization proclaimed World Food Day over 50 years ago to raise awareness of the fact that millions of poor people go to bed hungry daily.
“Presently the number of hungry people is 870 million and they are mainly in the rural areas. The bulk of which are women and children. This is against the fact that women constitute 60 to 70 percent of the agricultural labourers, they are the processors of food and cookers of the food that the world eats,” reads the report in part.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :