“Thank you for being a great mother and father to your children”

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2020, WFP puts the spotlight on one of its women beneficiaries empowered by WFP’s community-based asset creation act

This year’s theme, “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights,” is an underpinning to the possibility of a world where women and men are equal contributors to the well-being of their families and communities. In 2019, WFP’s work in conflict-affected Marawi City has led to a growing number of women participating in asset creation projects such as farming, raising livestock, and maintaining nurseries. The outcome results showed that the participation of women in these activities led to men becoming more involved in household chores and taking pride in sharing the decision-making on the use of cash in their households.

Mairah, a widow farmer from Guimba Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, Philippines
Mairah, 53, a widow farmer from Guimba Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, Philippines

Mairah is a beneficiary to WFP’s cash-based assistance programme in Marawi, a city that was sieged by ISIS-inspired Abu Sayyaff/Maute Group causing displacement to 77,000 families in and around the city. As WFP shifted its interventions towards more sustainable livelihood solutions, its asset creation activities became a catalyst for women to come out of their homes and participate in the rebuilding of their communities. In a short interview, we asked Mairah to talk about what makes her proud of being a woman and how the livelihood assistance has changed her family’s lives for the better, revealing a glimpse of how simple yet genuine their aspirations are for their families.

Interview conducted by Jaslin Masbud

What makes you proud to be a woman?

For me, the beauty of being a woman is to be able to be contribute to the development of our community and to be a good mother to my children.

What is your biggest achievement as a woman?

The most important thing I have done as a mother is to raise my children well. I performed both the roles of a mother and a father. I raised them and sent them to school despite the challenges of being a widow.

How do you juggle your responsibilities as a mother and a breadwinner?

I do proper time management. In the morning, when my children go to school, I go to the field to work and I only come home when it is time for salah (prayer).

Mairah, 53, a widow farmer from Guimba Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, Philippines

How did you know about WFP’s asset creation activities?

I learned about WFP’s livelihood assistance through the barangay (community) local government and the City Agriculture Office. They visited our house and our farmland. They surveyed and validated the farmers in our community.

What were the results of your participation in WFP’s asset creation activities?

We were able to receive financial assistance (in exchange of our farming work) and we used it to buy food and farming tools, and the remaining money was saved for the education of my children. Aside from that, we were also given a chance to participate in Kawiyagan (livelihood fair) and sell our farm produce there. It was a big help for us as we were able to sell our produce there such as eggplant, tomatoes, and cucumber, among others.

What are your plans after the implementation of said activities?

I will definitely work harder because farming is the bread and butter of my family.

What are your dreams for your family?

My dream is that my children finish their studies and that they will eventually have a good job afterwards. I also wish for them to be safe from diseases and that they live peacefully and happily.

If you can talk to yourself ten years ago, what would you say to her?

Thank you. Thank you for being a great mother and father to your children. Thank you because you did not give up and you endured all the hardships in your life. Thank you for setting a good example to your children and to other women.

Mairah, 53, a widow farmer from Guimba Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, Philippines


Written by
Catherine Mones
Operational Information Management and Reports Associate
UN entities involved in this initiative
World Food Programme