On Friday, September 10th, the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger Brazil took part in the virtual event celebrating the 2021 UN Day for South-South Cooperation, organized by the Colombian Presidential Agency of International Cooperation (APC-Colombia) in partnership with the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC). The goal of the sessions was to draw the spotlight on successful South-South Cooperation projects that have contributed directly to social and economic recovery in the Decade of Action for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, with a focus on the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Southeast Asia, and Africa regions.
Sharon de Freitas, Head of Programme at the WFP Centre of Excellence, joined a panel on good practices that contributed towards the advancement of the SDGs through South-South Cooperation in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. She presented the methodology and lessons learned from the digital transformation of services provides by the Centre, with a focus on the Virtual Exchanges methodology developed to provide remote technical assistance to countries even in times of travel restrictions and stalled resources.
“We know by experience that advocacy and peer-to-peer learning have the best results in person, but we have also learned that a significant part of the technical support and the delivery of outputs could be done remotely without losing quality in the exchange of knowledge and best practices”, said Sharon de Freitas. “Even after the end of travel restrictions, remote support is expected to answer to demands that require quick, cheap, and effective technical assistance to governments and WFP offices, especially as it allows much bigger delegations to take part in the activities, reaching government officials and implementation partners involved in the process at all levels”, she added.
Participants included representatives of national and multilateral cooperation agencies from the Global South, national and territorial agencies in charge of South-South Cooperation, trade associations from each region and members of academic and research institutes from Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
The Centre of Excellence Virtual Exchanges promotes remote assistance that supports the design, implementation and delivery of high-quality school feeding programmes and facilitates field operations under country strategic plans. This methodology develops data-informed and knowledge-based remote assistance that draws on the role and experience of the WFP Centre of Excellence Brazil as a knowledge hub. This approach defines needs and designs a package for remote technical support and the delivery of outputs. The exchange could involve sharing knowledge through publications; conference calls; reviews of relevant documents; country-specific webinars; capacity-building trainings and videos; remote participation in missions, events, workshops and seminars; and in-person events, if there is demand and available country funding.
To enhance the Virtual Exchanges package, the Centre launched the “Virtual Study Visit: Brazil” In July 2021. It consists of a series of videos that simulate an in-person field visit and immersion into the Brazilian National School Feeding Programme (PNAE), covering the policy’s legal framework, financing model, institutional capacity and coordination, design and implementation, community participation and smallholder farming. Aiming to present fundamental aspects of the Brazilian experience in school feeding for South-South Cooperation, the virtual visit intends to support countries that wish to continue investing in development, even during a global crisis.