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Advancing Gender Equality is a Blueprint to a World with Zero Hunger

By Ayak Wel

Disclaimer: The views are those of the author's alone and do not represent the views of UNA-Canada.

My name is Ayak and I am working remotely as a Gender Equality Junior Professional Consultant with the World Food Programme (WFP) in the Philippines. As the world’s leading humanitarian organization working to end global hunger, WFP operates in over 80 countries. WFP has been present in the Philippines since 1968, but has re-established its presence in the country in 2006.

JPC Ayak's remote workspace

In the Philippines, WFP assists communities affected by natural and man-made disasters to rebuild their lives, by strengthening their capacity to respond to natural disasters and by offering food and cash-based assistance programmes. WFP’s strategic plans for the Philippines are to ensure that crisis-affected people can meet their food and nutrition needs and reduce vulnerability to shocks and that women, men, boys, and girls in historically underserved regions are able to meet their nutritional needs by 2022.

WFP Philippines has a Gender Action Plan in place, established to achieve the goal of integrating gender equality and women’s empowerment into all its programmes and activities. In my role as JPC, I support the country office’s efforts to implement the Action Plan by being involved in its gender mainstreaming activities. Gender equality is a cross-cutting commitment that informs WFP’s strategic planning at all levels. WFP’s ability to achieve its objectives depends on its capacity to deliver food assistance that addresses the different needs and priorities for women, men, girls, and boys. The Philippines country office acknowledges that a world with zero hunger can only be achieved when everyone has equal opportunities, equal access to resources, and an equal voice in decisions that shape their lives.

Ayak examines how SDGs 2 & 5 are interconnected

To date, I have supported the monitoring and evaluation team with the collection and analysis of the Gender and Age Marker (GaM) questionnaire along with evidence. The GaM is a tool used to assess the extent to which gender and age are integrated into the design and monitoring of WFP programmes for each given year. This is an important task because it helps WFP achieve its overarching goal of ensuring that women, girls, and boys have equitable access to humanitarian assistance. One of the main projects I am actively working on is mainstreaming gender in WFP’s emergency response framework. The Philippines is prone to frequent climate shocks and often experiences typhoons, earthquakes, and volcano eruptions that lead to the displacement of vulnerable communities. Emergency response is thus an important area of intervention for WFP Philippines, and integrating gender-responsive targets in emergency is vital. I am currently developing a resource guide on how to ensure inclusive implementation of cash-based and non-food item interventions in emergencies. This will include elements like addressing obstacles for women or men accessing service, involving male and female staff equitably and meaningfully at distribution sites, and ensuring the safety of women at distribution sites. In the next coming weeks, I look forward to supporting the team to incorporate a gendered lens in advocacy as it relates to food security. This will be done to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism on Ending Violence Against Women.

Gender Roles at the Basis of Violence Against Women (VAW)

This experience has been rewarding and personally transformative. I have learned so much about the Philippines and am so inspired by the level of expertise, passion, and dedication that my colleagues at WFP bring. I look forward to continuing this important work in the next few months and to carry on with gender mainstreaming activities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which is the area of the country affected by conflict.


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