Star turn: First lady of Denmark Anne Mette Rasmussen on Spanish TV
The 12th annual Gala FAO is on course to raise a record-breaking €2.5 million for small-scale agriculture projects. The eight-hour live event was broadcast on Spanish television this past Saturday and featured artists including actors, singers, TV presenters and sports stars. The event centred on a version of the popular Spanish show “Dancing with the Stars”, which included the first lady of Denmark, Anne Mette Rasmussen. Personal messages were also broadcast from FAO Goodwill Ambassador and Spanish footballer, Raul, along with Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal. FAO teamed up with Spanish TV station RTVE to organize the event. Clara Velez Fraga, liaison and promotion officer, said: “There was a fantastic response and the Spanish public really stepped up and got involved.” Velez Fraga was there and helped oversee the call centres, where some 600 people, including 200 volunteers, took calls. She said a major factor behind the success was the decision to send Spanish celebrities to see FAO projects and broadcast their visits during the show.
The projects featured were run under TeleFood and the Special Programme for Food Security in Egypt, Mauritania, Guatemala and Ethiopia. They included school and family gardens, and fish and pig production. “We worked with the technical cooperation department and the FAO Reps to organize these visits,” says Velez Fraga. “They really helped viewers see where their money goes and the effect it has, and encouraged people to contribute even more.” Some 19 million TV viewers tuned in to the programme at some stage. More than half a million text messages were received pledging donations, and there were over 34 000 phone calls. More than €2.2 million had been raised by Sunday – a record for the event. The total is expected to reach €2.5 million once all pledges are met. More than US$ 25 million has been raised around the world for TeleFood since 1996, funding 2 500 small, self-sustaining agriculture, livestock and fisheries projects in 130 countries.