First Lady of El Salvador visits with FAO DG
20 March 2013, Rome, Italy - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today welcomed the First Lady and Secretary of Social Inclusion of El Salvador, Vanda Pignata, to headquarters in Rome, where the two discussed the urgency of empowering women as key to food security, fighting poverty and promoting social inclusion.
Pignata has led a drive for transformational change by involving women and other marginalized groups in society.
FAO is supporting the Ministry of Social Inclusion of El Salvador in the implementation of the Family Farming Plan – Ciudad Mujer (City of Women), which aims to promote the reintegration of Salvadoran women in agricultural activities.
Pignata pointed out that the violence in her country is a direct result of poverty. When women are given the opportunity to have access to services, manage family finances and launch a small activity, such as a small agri-business, she said, thus begins societal change. When women manage the money, they invest in schooling and start creating opportunities where there were none before.
Pignata said that one of the Ciudades is helping women to successfully launch into agribusiness by training them in pasteurization of milk. The Salvadoran government wished to provide fresh milk at school to 800 000 students across the country, 300 000 students more than those that the Government is already assisting. To meet the production need, those women formed cooperatives that provided 300 000 litres of pastorised milk needed for the school milk programme. The milk is collected by the women from livestock owners and pastorized by the cooperative. The government purchases the milk from those businesswomen for its school feeding programme.