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Presentation by Her Excellency Silvana Abdo – First Lady of Paraguay on the “First Ladies on a Mission” Session at the SAMEAWS 2020 (VIRTUAL)

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Good morning, Dear Ladies

Michelle Bolsonaro; First Lady of the Federative Republic of Brazil

María Juliana Ruiz – First Lady of the Republic of Colombia


Dr Furo Ken-Giami, Executive Director, Center for Leadership and Economic Development

Ms Priscilla Nwikpo, Broadcaster and CEO Kairos Media UK -Director of ceremonies.

Nwandi Lawson, Media Consultant and CEO Virtudes Collective LLC.

Very good morning to all

I am pleased to participate in this meeting that brings together First Ladies from various continents and allows us to share experiences about the work that each of us is engaged in.

From the Office of the First Lady (OPD), which I have the honour to chair, the initiatives are focused on four priority areas:

The first thousand days of a child’s life from the first months of gestation to two years of age and includes projects on mother and child care and early childhood, child nutrition, prenatal care and oral health.

Women’s Economic and Social Empowerment: through the implementation of national plans that promote economic and social empowerment, as well as women’s protagonist participation, in urban and rural areas.

Creative and Cultural Economies: with the aim of promoting cultural industries and creative entrepreneurship and strengthening the cultural processes of the various sectors of the country, based on inclusion, sustainability, innovation and cultural diversity at the national and international levels.

Women are the main bearers of the knowledge and traditions of our peoples. In order to protect our heritage and promote development, we are implementing the programme “Supporting Paraguayan women artisans in the textile and clothing chain – Fostering dreams” with the Italo-Latin American Institute, which promotes innovative garment making, safeguarding ancestral techniques of embroidery and traditional Paraguayan fabrics such as ao po’i, ñanduti and ju lace, and has created workshop schools to teach ancestral techniques and prevent their extinction.

The last but not least important axis is Volunteering: which promotes voluntary citizen participation as a tool for the formation of social capital that leads to a more supportive, free and equitable Paraguay.

Although the arrival of COVID-19 forced us to take urgent measures and find solutions to the different challenges that arose, our most vulnerable women were already being trained and had tools and resources that in many cases allowed them to sustain the family economy.

We must work permanently on the empowerment of women because although they are fundamental in the productive chain and in most cases are the main providers of the household; they continue to be relegated and invisible within the development process.

To this end, it is essential to make the reality of rural, indigenous and afro-descendent women known to raise awareness of their situation and ensure them equal opportunities. From the Office of the First Lady (OPD), we are seeking to give a voice and put a face to all those women who are excluded or discriminated against for being “invisible” within the productive sector. Seeking their empowerment through the recognition and appreciation of their contribution to the community and then training them and giving them the resources and tools to develop, through the implementation of the Law on Public Policies for Rural Women, which was promoted by my Office, while at the international level through the FAO campaign #Rural Women, women with rights which we actively accompany.

In addition, we are providing important support to women entrepreneurs through different initiatives.  The AIKUAA programme, which is broadcast on YouTube, social networks and television, provides training, apprenticeship and formalization workshops for people who want to start their own businesses. We support access to credit to finance economic activities for women living in poverty, job training, equal pay, and the empowerment of rural and indigenous women through the Kuña Katupyry programme, and we provide training in marketing, administration, finance and accounting through the Dream Builder programme, which trains women entrepreneurs in administration, finance, marketing and accounting to enable them to progress in their own businesses.

Another fundamental aspect for achieving development, overcoming differences and making better use of the other tools available is education.

On June 6th, I participated together with the ALMA First Ladies in the World Youth Cybercentre with the First Ladies of Latin America and the Caribbean, where we expressed our commitment to join efforts to take care of the common home. Which is planet Earth and which we share with young people and Pope Francis, who announced the creation of the University of Sense, an online space for reflection for young people from all over the world, based on the values of solidarity, care for nature and the promotion of the culture of encounter.

The pandemic is not yet over, we do not know what the year 2021 will bring, although the release of the vaccine on the market brings hope and makes us see the light at the end of the tunnel, neither its distribution nor its results will be immediate, so we must prepare ourselves from now on for a school year where technology will continue to be at the centre of the educational system, learning from the experience of this year that is ending and correcting the faults that may have occurred.

These are some of the activities that we have been carrying out during this complex year, marked by a pandemic that has also left us with countless lessons learned and gives us the opportunity to continue to bring out the best in us to continue moving forward.

In this process, women’s resilience has been fundamental in addressing the crisis and has highlighted the role they play in society. We cannot let this opportunity pass us by to continue working for the empowerment of women. Training them and providing them with the tools and resources they need to be able to unfold their full potential and become fully integrated into national economic life.  




About the First Ladies on a Mission 

The First Ladies on a Mission session is a High-Level discussion with First Ladies from across emerging economies and seeks to enlighten participants of the laudable projects and social courses undertaken by First Ladies, and the impact these projects have had on the people of their nations. The discussions are tailored towards maximizing the perspectives of select World First Ladies by sharing their best practices in delivering their missions in their various countries.

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