The United Nations World Food Programme and the Odisha government have signed an agreement to work on improving food and nutritional security of households in the state by strengthening livelihood initiatives by involving thousands of women’s self-help groups.
“This is a significant partnership for achieving nutritional security in Odisha focused on empowerment, livelihood and incomes of women,” said WFP country director Bishow Parajuli. “Such focused initiatives are important to address and reduce vulnerabilities around food security as highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.
The agreement was signed on Wednesday between Parajuli and Sujata R. Karthikeyan, commissioner-cum-secretary, department of Mission Shakti, at a virtual ceremony.
“Sustainable livelihoods lead to improved household food and nutritional security and ultimately result in holistic empowerment of women. This collaboration will support women’s self-help groups by providing technical assistance and capacity development, directly contributing to long-term food security and developing a replicable model,” said Karthikeyan.
“Working with self-help groups to create livelihood opportunities, improving household nutritional security and increasing women’s participation in decision-making are some of the core objectives for the department of Mission Shakti,” she said.
The partnership, effective till December 2023, will also be focusing on improving the linkage of women’s groups with government procurement systems, increasing awareness on entitlements, building the capacity of the groups, developing monitoring tools and undertaking evaluations to improve the function of these groups.