Across Africa, women working with The Hunger Project are making incredible strides to end hunger. From learning how to make a new dish to sell through YouTube, to growing a garden full of vegetables, women are at the forefront of a world where hunger no longer exists.
Below, we spotlight success stories from The Hunger Project of women who are creating a more just and equitable world—just in time to honor World Food Day on Oct. 16.
Stella | Ghana
Now I am making a sizable profit and I can support my three children.
Stella began her business over 20 years ago by selling goods at her local market. Over the years, Hunger Project programs like income-generating training and the microfinance program supported the growth of her business. But she knew she could be doing more to create a sustainable income through her culinary craft. When her community got high-speed internet through the Meaningful Access Project, Stella immediately leveraged it to expand and diversify her business.
“When I started my business 20 years ago, I used to sell plain porridge from maize meal,” she said. “Soon after, I started selling cooked plain rice with meat but the profit was low. Through the Meaningful Access Project, I learned how to make jollof rice, which I had been struggling to make for a while. Now I am making a sizable profit and I can support my three children. I have also learned how to conduct online research if I have any more questions.”
By learning how to make traditional jollof rice through YouTube, Stella doubled her profits. Her most popular customers are the children in the nearby school who excitedly await her arrival during lunchtime. Access to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet has enabled Stella to access opportunities and information previously out of reach.
Aminata | Burkina Faso
I did not go to school; there is no way that my children will have the same fate.
Sitting in front of her stall, the first thing that strikes the eye about Aminata is her smile.
“When you’re a shopkeeper, you should always be welcoming,” she said.
Aminata, a shopkeeper, sells fruit she and her family grow. During the rainy season, the whole family must be in the field. Still, she asked her husband if she could join them later so she could continue to manage her business in the mornings. While the fruit and vegetable business is not always profitable, it allows her to buy school supplies for her children, who are in elementary school.
“Notebooks and pens are becoming more and more expensive,” she said.
Aminata also raises cattle to sell. “The Hunger Project has shown us how this activity works,” she said, adding that training from THP has helped her grow her profits from this work. The money she makes doing this allows her to ensure the schooling of her older children, who are in secondary school.
Aminata never had the opportunity to learn to read or write and does not want her children to be like her.
“I did not go to school; there is no way that my children will have the same fate. It is true that during the vacations, they come to help us, but we insist on their studies,” she said. “If you don’t put your children in school, you reduce their chances of succeeding in life.”
Hadijah | Uganda
Most times, women are not confident, so I try to boost their confidence.
Petite, soft-spoken with a shy smile, 45-year-old Hadijah is also a focused, great planner who loves having fun.
Hadijah lives at the Bukoona village trading center in Iganga district. Buildings with small grocery shops and snack stalls, including chapati and mandazi, are lined up facing the highway.
Across the road and opposite Hadijah’s house is a school playing field that she loves to frequent for a game of netball whenever she gets some time. “Once I’m done with my home chores, I just cross the road and play with the women and girls teams.”
Hadijah played netball in her younger days. “I sometimes coach them because I played the game during my school days,” she said.
The chairperson of the village women’s council, Hadijah has had training on women empowerment from The Hunger Project. She is disturbed by the lack of confidence among many women in her village. “Most times, women are not confident, so I try to boost their confidence.”
Many women fully depend on their husbands; Hadijah said this needs to change.
A mother of five, Hadijah is most proud that all her children have been able to attain an education. “It makes me happy that all my children are educated. Rhey are spiritual and when they visit. We do everything as a family.”
Like many girls in her village, Hadijah did not get the opportunity to join high school. She has used this as motivation to educate her children and support women within and outside of Bukoona village. “I need my children to help their younger siblings who are still in school. I believe in helping others grow—that’s why I focus on women.”
Looking back, the 45-year-old wishes she had a proper education. “I would be a totally different person. I would be an independent woman.”
Hadijah credits the trainings and support she gets from The Hunger Project for her development. “Coupled with that, imagine if I had gone to school—I would be far ahead compared to where I am.”
As a leader, netball coach and player, Hadijah says when the women come to attend the evening netball games,
“Many young girls have turned into mothers during these two years of lockdown and many don’t think going back to school is crucial,” she said, “So, I have to use the netball game to encourage them not to give up and for the women to know that the power to develop and grow themselves is in their hands.”
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