August 2006: Government Signing (Mexico)

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On August 15, the Zacatecas house of government witnessed the signing of an important agreement between the Zacatecas government represented by the Agency of Regional Planning and Development (SEPLADER), the State System of Development and Family (SEDIF) and the civil society represented by the Hunger Project Mexico. The governor Amalia García Medina proceeded to formalize this alliance with the government and the civil society, in order to create new and effective strategies in this state to fight hunger and poverty in rural communities.

The alliance consists of government officials, from SEPLADER and SEDIF, who will be trained in the Hunger Project’s principles and methodology to combine the agency´s programs and the social development of the state in order to create a deeper and broader impact to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

The Hunger Project provides a new focus on community development oriented towards the empowerment of people as authors of their own destiny. The first step is to overcome the paradigm of dependency and paternalism, then, to create new ways of thinking while expanding leadership so that they can take part in the decision making with a higher level of responsibility and confidence.

Women play a primary roll in this strategy since society holds them accountable for their family’s nutrition, education and well being. However, they are not given the tools to achieve this task.

Noé Belrán, Secretary of Regional Planning and Development, called this new strategy “revolutionary” as compared to the traditional ways the government operates. This is the first time that The Hunger Project’s (Mexico) methodology works with Zacatecas government resources and institutions to support a grassroots movement.

Lorena Vázquez Ordaz, Director of The Hunger Project (Mexico), pointed out in her speech the importance of working in alliance with the government to introduce new paradigms of shared responsibility in social development. This will allow for a sustainable and self reliant development for all individuals.

This agreement represents an example of the government’s willingness to hear the voices of the people in a country where this voices have typically been silenced. As the governor Amalia García said “People don’t need to be told what they need, they know it. People have changed their awareness of themselves”. This statement reflects her commitment to prioritizing the most vulnerable sectors of society, not by giving hand outs, but by creating new opportunities, sharing responsibilities and respecting citizens ability to create their own tools for development.

This agreement is a very important step towards the integral development of the country. Poverty is everyone’s responsibility and only together can we modify the conditions that have made hunger persistent. Although there will be difficult challenges and obstacles in creating this alliance, the planning, the professional experience and the human resources combined will make it happen.