Marta Maglio

Ashoka Fellow
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Fellow Since 2010

Citation

This profile was prepared when Marta Maglio was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010.
The New Idea
When Marta gave birth to her third child in the United States she was surprised to see how much attention was given to breastfeeding. This was an issue that had never come up in her native Argentina, neither with her doctor nor with her peers. Upon Marta’s return to Argentina in the early 1970s, she set out to disseminate knowledge about this issue throughout the country, while developing mechanisms to support families through their transitions as parents.

What began as an exercise with a few mothers in her living room quickly transformed into a nationwide effort to disseminate knowledge and best practices around breastfeeding. Marta’s approach particularly powerful because it does not simply focus on the health benefits of breastfeeding, but rather makes the link with a broader understanding of what a healthy family constitutes. She recognizes that breastfeeding and many other prenatal and parenting best practices are important ways to ensure strong bonds between a child and his/her parents. By focusing on breastfeeding as a way to ensure empathetic family relations, Marta has contributed to an important transformation in Argentine society.

Marta has since established breastfeeding as a common practice throughout Argentina. She has done so through formally and informally training health professionals, parents, and educators about its benefits; leading massive public education campaigns; and creating public policies that guaranteed the rights of women to breastfeed, among others. In the early 2000s, Marta created the first nationally recognized postsecondary education degree in the field: Breastfeeding and Parenting. She is now pursuing partnerships with universities throughout the country to adopt this curriculum. Marta is doing so in order to ensure the growth of this profession, through a holistic approach that furthers the emotional and physical health of children and parents alike.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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