Salvadoran authorities visited Paraguay's social action secretariat in the interest of strengthening their social protection system "El Salvador includes me"

This programme plans to continue providing benefits to the current beneficiaries (65,000 users) and pensions to elderly adults

From 14th to 17th March 2016, officials from El Salvador's Ministry of Governance and Territorial Development, Ministry of Agriculture, and Technical and Planning Secretariat of the Presidency took part in an exchange visit to Paraguay to learn the overall functioning of the country's TEKOPORÃ programme—its structure, characteristics, processes, and components, and especially in relation to its mechanisms for social-family support and productive inclusion—in order to gather elements that would contribute to defining the Operational Handbook for the "El Salvador Includes Me" [El Salvador Me Incluye] programme.

At the request of the authorities of El Salvador's Technical and Planning Secretariat of the Presidency, the EUROsociAL programme collaborated with the Secretariat in the redesign of the Urban and Rural Communities in Solidarity [Comunidades Solidarias Urbana y Rural] programme (adjusted and aligned with the priorities and approaches in the Five-Year Plan), with expert advising during 2015 by Márcia Lópes, a former minister in the Brazilian government.  Thus it was possible to validate with the country's highest authorities the EL SALVADOR INCLUDES ME programme (a redefinition of the Communities in Solidarity programme), a Salvadoran anti-poverty strategy. This programme plans to continue providing benefits to the current beneficiaries (65,000 users) and pensions to elderly adults. In 2016 it will be expanded to 3,000 families in 13 municipalities prioritised through a pilot project. 

The interest in learning about the experience of the Tekoporã programme arose from the similarities encountered with respect to the transformation of a cash transfer programme with co-responsibility to a social inclusion strategy as a gateway to Paraguay's social protection system. Therefore, the visit was oriented towards learning about the functioning and structure of the central area and peripheral offices, aspects of the inclusion process for families and the payment system, family support components, and functioning at the municipal level with the interaction of Mother-Leaders [Madres Líderes], Family Guides [Guías Familiares], Citizen Participation Commissions [Mesas de Participación Ciudadana], Small Producers' Committees [Comités de pequeños Productores], etc. 

The delegation included the following individuals: Irma Yolanda Nuñez Mancia, Coordinator of the Communities in Solidarity programme of the Technical and Planning Secretariat of the Presidency; Ana Daysi Villalobos Membreño, Deputy Minister of Governance and Territorial Development; Rafael Alemán, Executive Director of the National Center of Agricultural, Livestock and Forestry Technology; and international experts Virginia Tedeschi and Lorenzo Tordelli of the IILA, representing the EUROsociAL, programme funded by European Union.

The officials interacted with Minister Héctor Cárdenas, officers and specialists from the Social Action Secretariat (SAS), and from the Tekoporã and Tenonderã programmes in particular. The experience of dialogue and exchange between the two countries was highly satisfactory. In the words of the officials: “Without a doubt, we have made considerable progress in social programmes with the focus on law and coordination, but we lack the family support component, which we were able to see first-hand in Paraguay”, said the Coordinator of the Communities in Solidarity programme of El Salvador, Irma Nuñez, who has had close contact with the experiences of families in her territory when visiting the towns of Caaguazú and Repatriación. “We have it seen it in the family participants of the Tekoporã programme, and it is an essential element that we need to add. This visit allowed us to detect the need to incorporate this component”. “The SAS programmes light the way to advancing in our protection programme”, she stressed.