If we go by the UN’s Definition, food security means that all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life.

It is also a well-known fact that Gender Inequality leads to and results from food insecurity. According to estimates, girls and women make up 60% of the world’s chronically hungry, and the world has made little progress in ensuring the equal right to food for women. In fact, at the global level, the gender gap in the prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity grew even more significant in the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

India is no exception. As per the National Family Health Survey 5 report published in 2021, an estimated 57 percent of women aged between 15 and 49 years in India were affected by anemia; among the children (5 -60 months), the percentage of being anemic is a whopping 67%.

Since the months during the Covid-19 lockdown, the loss of livelihood amidst social distancing rules has disproportionately affected our slum communities – migrant workers, daily wage earners, the urban poor, and other vulnerable groups of women & children in tens of thousands. From the social development perspective, the pandemic has taken us back by at least a decade. As always, the already underprivileged, like the daily wage earners, and women and children who live in urban slums, were among the worst hit.

Sukarya, which works to empower women and children in the slums of Delhi and Gurgaon, quickly swung into action. Within days, its COVID Relief Food Support Program ensured the arrangements and distribution of thousands of dry food packets among these slum-dwellers that faced acute food shortages, with a particular focus on reproductive-aged women [15-49 years] and children below five, who are the most susceptible to anemia and malnutrition. These packets, which contain enough flour, rice, pulses, and oil to feed a family of five, were distributed among 38 slums over the past year.

Sukarya also organized camps across these slums to sensitize and generate awareness about the safety measures to avoid infections and the benefits of vaccination against the deadly virus, as well as the importance of nutrition. Between May 2021 and March 2022, these interventions helped over 4000 marginalized families, or 20,000 people if we take an average of 5 members per family, living in 38 urban slums in Delhi and Gurgaon, tide over an acute crisis of poverty and hunger.

Of course, this mission would not have been possible without the prompt and generous support of donors who stepped up to help us. Team Sukarya would like to express gratitude to GlobalGiving, Give India, Sukarya USA, Fidelity International and Herbalife Nutrition Foundation, Charities Aid Foundation India, and all the other companies and individuals who helped us with their generous contributions.

While the fourth wave of Covid is on its way, we must fight it together as we have been doing so far, and we look forward to your continued support.

Read the full article about food security by Meera Satpathy at Global Washington.