Archived Webinar

Digital technologies, child nutrition, and women’s inclusion: A digitalisation pilot in Guatemala

"Sharing the vision, the methodology adopted, key findings and lessons learned from this experience, and will look at how the digitalisation agenda can support family farming and contribute to food and nutrition security, in Guatemala and globally."

In Guatemala, smallholder farmers suffer from low access to markets, dependence on intermediaries, and high post-harvest losses. At the same time, the country is fighting against sobering rates of child malnutrition and food insecurity, which increase dramatically in rural areas, among the poorest, and among Indigenous Peoples.

A window of opportunity to tackle both issues is Guatemala’s School Feeding Program (SFP), which guarantees nutritious meals for schoolchildren, and mandates that schools buy their food from local family farmers. Schools in remote areas, however, lack information on active and reliable producers. Farmers also struggle with insufficient information, weak coordination with schools throughout the year, and low food quality and safety standards. Things are even tougher for women producers, due to higher information gaps, lower access to market and extension services, and higher informality, compounded by restrictive social norms.  

The DIGITAGRO project piloted digital technologies to improve the link between the SFP and smallholder farmers, with a particular focus on engaging women agri-preneurs. The intervention, carried out at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, revolved around three main activities:  

  1. The creation of a dedicated SFP e-commerce platform, in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP). 
  1. The production of extension videos, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). 
  1. A digital information campaign, conducted in collaboration with the World Bank’s Gender Innovation Lab for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC-GIL).  


In this webinar, speakers will share the vision, the methodology adopted, key findings, and lessons learned from this experience and will look at how the digitalization agenda can support family farming and contribute to food and nutrition security, in Guatemala and globally. 

Read the latest blog by Aída Romero, Viviana Perego, and Javier Romero Haaker here

About the Presenters

Katie Kennedy Freeman

Senior Agriculture Economist, West and Central Africa Region, Agriculture and Food Global Practice, World Bank 

Katie Kennedy Freeman is a Senior Agriculture Economist currently working in the West and Central Africa region at the World Bank. Prior to that, Katie worked for eight years in the Latin America and Caribbean region of the World Bank on issues related to climate smart agriculture, risk management, on-farm circular economy, biomass to energy, productive uses of energy for agriculture, agro-logistics, cold-chain development and digital agriculture and for one year with the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) working on energy access issues in Africa. Prior to joining the Bank, Katie worked at the Earth Institute at Columbia University implementing energy access and digital agriculture programs in Africa and Haiti and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) supporting agricultural value-chain development programs in East Africa. Katie holds a master’s degree in Political and Economic Development from the Harvard Kennedy School and is finishing a PhD in on-farm Circular Economics from the University of Wageningen with a focus on nutrient cycling technologies for on-farm circular economy in Uruguay.

Diego Arias

Practice Manager, Agriculture and Food Global Practice, Latin America and Caribbean Region, The World Bank

Diego Arias is Practice Manager at the World Bank. His work has focused on innovative agriculture development and risk management projects and advisory services in Latin America and Africa. Previous to the World Bank, he worked at the Inter-American Development Bank as Natural Resources Economist and as a commodity trader for coffee, rice and petroleum products.  Diego holds a PhD in Agribusiness and Environmental Economics from Polytechnic University of Valencia, an MBA from Sacred Heart University in Luxembourg and a Master in International Development from Harvard University.

Viviana Maria Eugenia Perego

Economist, Agriculture and Food Global Practice, Latin America and Caribbean Region, The World Bank

Viviana Perego is an Economist at the World Bank, where she works on themes related to agriculture and food systems, inclusive rural livelihoods, and competitiveness. Her current projects focus on food security, market access for smallholder farmers, technology adoption, agrologistics, and food systems’ sustainability and resilience to climate change. Prior to joining the World Bank, she collaborated with institutions such as the ILO, Unicef, and the Bank of Italy, as well as research centers such as the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford. Viviana holds a DPhil (PhD) degree in Economics from the University of Oxford and a Master of Science in Economics and Social Sciences from Bocconi University.

 Javier Romero

Economist, Poverty and Equity Global Practice, Latin America and Caribbean Region, The World Bank 

Javier Romero is an Economist in the World Bank’s Poverty and Equity Global Practice for Latin America and the Caribbean and the Gender Innovation Lab of the region (LACGIL). His work focuses on economic development, health, gender, and labor, where he uses experimental and quasi-experimental methods to guide policy making. At the World Bank, Javier has contributed to the country programs of Bolivia, Costa Rica, Peru, Guatemala, and Panama. Before joining the Bank, Javier worked at the Research Center of Universidad de Piura, Peru, the Central Bank of Peru, and co-founded a nonprofit organization that works in sustainable development projects in the Amazon forest. Javier holds a PhD and MA in Economics from Duke University and a BA and Licenciatura in Economics from Universidad de Piura.

Karen Kestler

Programme Policy Officer for School Feeding, Guatemala, World Food Programme

Karen Kestler Farfán is the Programme Policy Officer at World Food Programme (WFP). A nutritionist with a master's degree in nutrition and food science; Karen is a Guatemalan, a mother, and passionate in her work with school feeding programs. Since 2010, Karen has worked in areas including university teaching, community nutrition and public health through her leadership of food and nutritional education projects, pedagogical school gardens, nutritional monitoring systems, the design of nutritional school meals, and the intersectoral coordination of the School-Feeding Program in Guatemala. In 2016, Karen co-led the creation of the School Feeding Law—in both its writing and its regulations.In 2020, Karen joined the WFP Country Office team in Guatemala, with the commitment to save lives and change lives through the strengthening of the school feeding program. In this role, she works together with the government via multiple strategies, strengthening institutional and local capacities through innovative projects, such as the development of the school feeding mobile application.

Ricardo Rapallo

FAO Representative, Guatemala, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Ricardo Rapallo Fernández is FAO Representative in Guatemala since August 24, 2020. Mr. Rapallo has Spanish nationality, is a Doctor of Agricultural Engineering (PhD) in Project Development and Rural Planning, and has a Master's Degree in Project Development and Rural Planning and a Postgraduate Degree in Agricultural Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain. He also holds a postgraduate diploma in Land Resources Management from the University of Ghent, Belgium. He was a consultant in FAO’s Special Program for Food Security (PESA) in Guatemala in 2004. Later, he joined the FAO in 2009 as Associate Professional Officer (APO) for policy assistance in FAO’s Subregional Office for Mesoamerica (SLM) in Panama. In 2011, he moved to the Rome headquarters as a Policy Analyst in the Agricultural Economics and Development Division (ESA). From 2012 to 2018, he worked as Food Security Officer at the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (RLC) in Santiago, Chile. In 2019 he was promoted to Principal Food Security and Nutrition Policy Officer. He has published and coordinated different studies and publications on the situation and policies related to food and nutrition security, rural development, and food systems. 


Marco Scuriatti

Resident Representative, Guatemala Country Office, The World Bank

Marco Scuriatti, an Italian national, joined the World Bank in 1993, in the Corporate Secretariat. Since then, he has held a variety of positions in operations, including Senior Country Officer, Senior Operations Officers, and Resident Representative in country management units Latin America and the Carribean, South Asia, and Africa.

Between 2001 and 2002; Marco was assistant to then president of the World Bank Group, Jim Wolfensohn, and since 2014 has held positions as special assistant in the office of the Special Envoy on Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) and Financial Development and in the Vice Presidency of Financing and Development. Marco also worked as an advisor in the Vice Presidency of External and Corporate Relations and Global Alliances. Maroc has coauthored several country partnership frameworks and reports and authored the 2015 “From Billion to Trillions” Development Committee Report, which shaped the World Bank Group’s response to the Financing for Development Agenda in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Marco has a master’s degree in International Affairs and Economics from the George Washington University and a master’s degree in Culture and Spanish Language from Middlebury University.

Questions Submitted

Sabrina Elena

- Jan 3, 2023
Amazing work!


- Nov 17, 2022
Very interesting, thank you

Mohammad Nadir

- Nov 13, 2022


- Nov 12, 2022


- Nov 12, 2022
Nice Video.
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