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Pathways to gender equality, food security and poverty alleviation projects.

Return to valuing the earth to help heal some of the scourges that increasingly afflict humanity, such as poverty and hunger, social inequality and gender inequality. This was the main theme of the webinar conference, organized by ASeS, the NGO of Cia-Agricoltori Italiani, which called institutions and the third sector together, on the centrality of agriculture-demonstrated to be strategic during the lockdown-in inclusive projects to fight inequality and defend food security. Important testimonies, in this regard, those brought to the online meeting by Teresa Martinez, Paraguay’s Minister of Children’s Affairs, and Arlete José Macuacùa Felimone, manager of the Manhiça-Maputu District Economic Activities District Services.

For ASeS-Cia it was a significant event, which came to revive and consolidate the meaning of the three international days, today’s dedicated by the UN to rural women, the food day (Oct. 16) and the fight against poverty (Oct. 17), themes and objectives in the DNA of ASeS-Cia which has always been involved in international cooperation and social agriculture initiatives.

Over the past 5 years, ASeS-Cia pointed out, recalling Unicef data, tens of millions of individuals have become undernourished, and countries facing severe malnutrition have increased. In 2019 alone, more than 690 million people went hungry. In addition, due to very low income, up to 2 billion people do not have access to a healthy or nutritious diet. This is a dramatic reality, compounded by the impact of Covid and the consequent contraction of consumption and incomes, such that today about 8 percent of the world’s population is at risk of extreme poverty.

According to ASeS-Cia it is, therefore, urgent to take action to identify tools and modalities that can facilitate and strengthen the contribution of resources from the agricultural sector in order to develop social models that protect rights and gender equality not only in low-income countries where the NGO has offices, but also in Italy. In particular, attention to the world of women and support for women’s empowerment are fundamental-as also confirmed by Manhiça-Maputu, Minister of Children’s Affairs and the Director of District Services and ASeS’s action-in the process of building a more equitable society that recognizes the value of women at work and in life, and puts people at the center regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity, and disability. There is a dire need for them in developing countries, and women are the real engine of local socioeconomic development, taking care of the family and home, children and the elderly, and they are almost always also agricultural workers.

“I am certain,” said ASeS-Cia President Cinzia Pagni, “that with our projects, in Italy and abroad, we can contribute effectively, especially in the current emergency phase, to the development of greater equity and social inclusion. In these very difficult months we have firmly believed in the need to bring back to the center the land, its fruits and the opportunities that can come from it. We feel more and more called to support those in need and ready -Pagni concluded- to work in the world for real socioeconomic sustainability.”

“International Rural Women’s Day should be taken this year as a great challenge,” said the national president of Donne in Campo-Cia, Pina Terenzi. We know how crucial their contribution has been in history and how women’s entrepreneurship and creativity has given lifeblood to agriculture. The pandemic crisis we are experiencing can be approached as an opportunity to spread greater awareness about the role of women in society. In this, women farmers can be valuable witnesses.”

“We must be protagonists of the European green transition, and agriculture more than any other sector,” said Cia national president Dino Scanavino, “is aware of the priorities for real economic, social and environmental sustainability. Among these is the guarantee of healthy, quality food for all. We have shown that we know how to deal with the emergency, now it is essential to promote the comparison from the inland areas of Italy to Brussels so that the available resources go in the right direction.”

Speakers during the webinar included Susanna Cenni, vice-chairwoman of the House of Representatives Agriculture Committee; Ilaria Signoriello, deputy spokesperson of the National Social Agriculture Forum; and Silvia Stilli, AOI spokesperson.

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