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The Vicente Ferrer Foundation USA (VFF USA) is thrilled to announce the save-the date for our annual gala, “Recipe for Empowerment” as October 6th, 2017.
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Alicia Cabero (Barcelona, 1983) graduated in Environmental Sciences and has extensive training in development. She has worked in Germany and Ecuador. She has worked at the offices of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) in Madrid as well asin displaced areas in Angola and Bolivia. Now she begins a new stage in her professional career, after two years in Anantapuras Project Manager for Vicente Ferrer Foundation (VFF).
How would you define your work in the VFF?
My job is to liaise between the teams of Spain and India. My partner, Africa, and I are intermediaries between the Indian teams that identify, design and make project. We support them and in Spain work our partners’ works to ensure funding through private and public institutions.
How is the process of looking for a project?
The organizers of the community are those in the field who identify needs and send requests to a sector and hence department projects in India, which is our direct contact and who design the proposals. I give them support at the moment of making such requests and delivering them to Spain and US for funding.
You have specifically chosen three areas: Health, Ecology and Habitat. What milestones in the healthcare sector can you highlight?
In 2011, the project "Births Insurance", focused on the promotion of sexual and reproductive rights of women. We promote the monitoring of pregnancy and childbirth in hospitals and we achieved (our goals?) almost entirely. In regards to topics such as STDs, early marriage and early pregnancy, we have incorporated educational sessions for teenage boys and we are having a very positive response so far.
Is this done in spite of the taboo on sexuality present in India?
Precisely, this is why we do it. There is really no sexual education given to these children/teenagers at home or school.
Regarding theecology sector, there is great pressure on farmers by the current severe drought. How do you support them through the Vicente Ferrer Foundation (VFF)?
Anantapur is the second driest area of India after the Rajasthan district. Here most of the population lives in the countryside. The VFF works in three lines to combat drought: The construction of water structures in order to recharge aquifers, reforestation to attract rainwater and water use on crops through drip irrigation. The challenge really is to continue working on this so that farmers can grow more crops, but this does not lead to overexploitation of aquifers.
Has this changed the lives of farmers in Andhra Pradesh?
The work of the VFF has allowed farmers to diversify their crops. In the past,only peanutswere grown, but now farmers grow vegetables and fruit through irrigation systems and technical support given by VFFfor management of these crops. Many of them have worked for others and now they cultivate their own land.
In regards of the Habitat Sector, what are the next goals to achieve?
Goals include building toilets in homes and raising awareness on health problems caused by this issue as 67% of the houses of India don’t have septic systems, causing serious health problems and insecurity for women, among other issues. We are working hard with the Government of India in order to improve this situation.
Have you noticed a change in attitude among donors?
Yes, they are becoming more demanding. Before they used to finance more of the infrastructure, now they focus on promoting changes in the target population to be protagonists of their own development through activities such as awarenessinitiatives. In any case, cooperation aid policies have been greatly affected since the crisis began. Our job as managers is getting closer and be efficient. This is also an opportunity to do a better job.
You have a very good understanding of the needs of the population of Andhra Pradesh and VFF. What have you learned from this experience in India with VFF?
Patience and tranquility; I have felt more at ease. I worked very well with the Indian team and I felt encouraged to continue growing in my profession. On the other hand, I'm a pretty outgoing person and I like to meet people. This place is very much alive, as there are always people and visitors coming to the area as well as Spanish Red Cross volunteers. Relationships are much more intense here than other cities.