Egyptian Minister Gives Brazil’s Zero Hunger Program High Marks

Brazil's program for the poor Bolsa FamÀ­lia The Egyptian mission to Brazil, led by the minister of Social Solidarity of the Arab country, Ali El-Sayed Al-Moselhi, got acquainted in the Brazilian capital BrasÀ­lia, with Zero Hunger, a social action program of the federal government.

According to the special adviser to the Zero Hunger, Adriana Aranha, who received Al-Moselhi at the Ministry of Social Development and Hunger Alleviation, the group showed interest in finding how the program is carried out by different ministries.

The Zero Hunger is executed by 11 ministries of the Brazilian government: Social Development and Hunger Alleviation, Education, Health, Agriculture, Environment, Agricultural Development, Justice, Labour and Employment, Science and Technology, National Integration, and Finance.

Al-Moselhi praised the Zero Hunger program, according to information supplied by the press office at the Ministry of Social Development.

The Egyptian minister arrived in Brazil last weekend, by invitation of the minister of Social Development, Patrus Ananias, to get to know the social actions implemented by the federal government in the country.

Escorted by a team of seven people, including officials from his ministry, the Egyptian Ministry of Health, the Dutch embassy in Cairo, and the World Food program (WFP) in Egypt, Al-Moselhi will attend, until Friday, a series of activities designed for him to gain further knowledge of the Zero Hunger program.

He was already received by Patrus Ananias, and from Wednesday until Friday he will visit social initiatives implemented in the municipality of Guarulhos, in the southeastern Brazilian state of São Paulo.

The Egyptians were received by Adriana, the head at the international advisory at the Ministry of Social Development, Silas Leite, and the representative of the Work Group for the Zero Hunger program at the Ministry of Foreign Relations, Milton Rondon.

According to Adriana, another area of interest for the group is the selection process of families to receive funding from the Family Voucher (Bolsa Famí­lia), an income distribution program that is part of Zero Hunger.

A total of 11 million impoverished Brazilian families receive an income complement from the federal government by means of the program, which allows them access to food. According to Adriana, eight million people have escaped extreme poverty in Brazil between the years of 2003, when the Zero Hunger implementation began, and 2005. These results were presented to the Egyptians.

They were provided with an overview of the entire Zero Hunger program functioning, which includes not only the Bolsa Famí­lia, but also the food and nutrition program in Brazilian public schools.

According to Adriana, the federal government increased by 40% the per capita amount spent in public school meals. The program caters to 37 million children. In the case of Indian communities and quilombos (communities that were established by former slaves), the amount per children is twice the regular amount.

The Zero Hunger also includes funding for the construction of cisterns in Brazilian regions affected by drought, funding for construction and purchase of equipments for the establishment of popular restaurants, turned to the low-income population, in municipalities with more than 100,000 inhabitants.

"This is not simply an income transference program: it seeks to develop human resources, be it through education or through the creation of opportunities," said the Egyptian minister, referring to the Bolsa Famí­lia, in an interview to the press office of the Ministry of Social Development.

According to him, of the 75 million people living in Egypt, 20% are below the poverty line, and another 20% need support and more opportunities. According to Al-Moselhi, the Egyptian government is considering social reform, and wants to learn from other countries. Therefore, according to him, it is important to have a look at the Brazilian experience.

Today, the group will attend a series of other meetings with professionals in different secretariats of the federal government. On Wednesday, the Egyptian minister and his escorts will be in São Paulo.

In addition to getting acquainted with the social action programs implemented in Guarulhos, they will be received by the heads at the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce. The mission schedule in Brazil was organized with the aid of the Egyptian Trade Office in São Paulo.

Anba – www.anba.com.br

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