MADRE Articles

MADRE supports women at the epicenter of the global food crisis.

Posted on: Thursday, June 5, 2008

Keywords: Economic Justice, Environmental Justice, Global Food Crisis, Haiti, Guatemala, Sudan, Iraq, Kenya, Nicaragua, Food Sovereignty

We are working to meet immediate needs for food, create local, sustainable solutions to hunger, and demand new economic policies that recognize that food is not a commodity, but a human right.

MADRE is working through our Emergency and Disaster Relief Fund to deliver food aid funds to the families of our sister organizations.

Join us in this effort. Click here to donate.

MADRE Sister Organizations on the Frontlines of the Food Crisis

In Haiti, the cost of rice has more than doubled in the past six months. In the poorest areas of Port-au-Prince, where MADRE works, mothers are preparing "cookies" of mud, oil, and sugar to feed hungry children.

In Guatemala, women from our sister organization in Bárcenas are now spending 80 percent of their sweatshop earnings on food (compared to less than 10 percent on average for people in the US).

In Sudan, women who can no longer afford to buy food go without eating in order to ensure a meal for their children. Despite their mothers' sacrifice, a growing number of the children we work with are malnourished.

In Iraq, the cost of food now exceeds many people's incomes. Our sister organization in Baghdad reports that more and more women are forced to work as prostitutes just to put food on the table.

In Kenya, where the economy is still reeling from political violence earlier this year, our sisters in Umoja tell us of desperate parents forcing girls into marriages in exchange for food.

In Nicaragua, many families can only afford food now if they pull their children out of school and send them to work. Mothers know that an education is a poor child's best hope for a brighter future. Yet, our sisters are being forced to choose between feeding their children or sending them to school.

We know that putting money into women's hands ensures that it will be used to meet household needs.

By distributing aid through our local sister organizations, we help strengthen progressive, community-based women's initiatives and build community capacity to respond to future crises.

MADRE is also developing long term solutions, both local and systemic, to the food crisis.

Local Solutions:

MADRE programs work to boost women's capacity to grow and produce sufficient, healthy food for their families and communities.

MADRE supports:

  • Women-run seed banks in Nicaragua and Panama
  • Agricultural and food-production cooperatives in Sudan and Mexico
  • Small-scale, organic farms and livestock management projects in Nicaragua, Guatemala and Kenya
  • A union for women farmers to demand equal access to government support given to male farmers in Sudan
  • Trainings to preserve Indigenous women's traditional knowledge of agriculture and biodiversity in Panama
  • Sustainable, local food economies in Mexico and Nicaragua

Systemic Solutions:

The root cause of today's food crisis is not any absolute shortage of food, but economic policies that have made food unaffordable for millions of poor families.

MADRE works to change these policies and put forward sustainable alternatives that can both feed all of the world's people and protect the planet.


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Kat Noel, Website & Media Coordinator
PHONE: +1 212 627 0444
EMAIL: media@madre.org

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