When it comes to grassroots development, if we are not working with women, we are ignoring needs, capabilities and brain power of at least 50 percent of any given population. For this reason women have always had a strong presence in our programs since the creation of the Inter-American Foundation (IAF) in 1969.
We support over 200 grassroots development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. In our portfolio you will see women cited as an area of emphasis in projects concerning environmental sustainability, food security, enterprise development and other important endeavors our grantee partners undertake in their communities.
To demonstrate our commitment at the IAF, we’re participating in the UN’s International Women’s Day #BeBoldForChange campaign. We at the IAF remain moved by the question: what if the world truly stepped up to take bold action for a more gender-inclusive society?
This prevalence of women as an area of emphasis in our portfolio speaks to regional concerns about the gender pay gap, violence toward women and unequal access to education and training
As IAF President Robert Kaplan said to introduce the 2011 edition of our Grassroots Development journal dedicated to women grassroots leaders, it pays to be bold:
“Today, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean, women are less limited than ever by expectations,” Kaplan said. “Everywhere the future holds a vast range of possibilities that simply didn’t exist for women a few decades ago.”
Below are some of our current grassroots partners and their organizations that are “being bold for change” every day of their lives.
Grantee Partners taking bold action throughout Latin America and the Caribbean:
Asociación de Pequeños Productores Aborígenes de la Puna (APPP) in Argentina works in 10 communities to develop the leadership skills of women and young members; improve the production, processing and marketing of llama meat; and encourage the consumption of food native to the Puna. The goal is food sovereignty, employment opportunities, better income and a more robust practice of and appreciation for the Kolla culture.
Instituto Pró Educação e Saúde (Instituto Proeza) in Brazil works on the outskirts of Brasilia to train victims of domestic violence in vocational skills, which help income generation, gender equality in labor relations and establishing their own association to leverage business opportunities.
The Associación Nuevo Amanecer de El Salvador (ANADES) in El Salvador trains women and young people in San Julian and Cuisnahuat to develop their leadership skills and employment prospects. The project focuses on training women in agroecology, savings and loan management, production management and value-added products to improve the participation and income for them and their families.
Asociación de Mujeres Intibucanas Renovadas (AMIR) in Honduras is an organization of indigenous women from rural areas of the municipalities of Intibucá and San Francisco de Opalaca. AMIR trains its members in farming methods compatible with the responsible use of the environment and in effective approaches to marketing the fruit and jam that they process. The result should be a more reliable food supply, better use of natural resources and improved household income.
Asociación Movimiento de Mujeres Nidia White (Nidia White) in Nicaragua works with 560 women in 52 Miskito communities in the municipality of Puerto Cabezas (also known as Bilwi), located in the Región Atlántica Autónoma Norte (RAAN). Its program includes training and related technical, psychological and legal support toward enabling the women to become financially independent and less susceptible to domestic violence and sex-based discrimination. A corps of volunteers trained to monitor incidents of abuse channels cases to the association or public authorities, as appropriate.
Centro de Estudios Cristianos y Capacitación Popular (CECYCAP) in Peru provides training and technical assistance to 150 women recyclers to improve their income, leadership skills and productivity. CECYCAP’s support helps Asociación de Mujeres Ecosolidarias, a network formed by five recycling groups, purchase basic processing equipment and acquire the business skills necessary to develop a viable recycling enterprise and access the banking sector and government programs.
Red Maya, Cimujer (REDMAYA) in Guatemala, a grassroots organization comprised of 32 young indigenous women leaders from Guatemala’s Huehuetenango, learns about management and fundraising, as well as topics related to citizenship and democracy. They also learn about social audits, a practice that allows Guatemalan citizens to use existing laws and regulations to ensure that development initiatives are implemented following due process. In doing so, REDMAYA strengthens its relationships with civil society and local governments to promote the rights of women and youth and to reestablish a municipal office on women.
Association Planteurs Jonc-Tiby (ASPJ) in Haiti works with its members to increase their production and sale of vegetables by offering training in agriculture that includes exchanges; distributing seeds, tools and other inputs; constructing a storage facility and processing center; developing a credit fund for women merchants; identifying viable clients for volume purchases; and introducing practices related to soil conservation and reforestation.
Ñepi Behña Asociación Civil (Ñepi Behña) in Mexico a nongovernmental organization, and Ya Muntsi Behña, a cooperative comprising 250 women in Hidalgo, develops their jointly-owned enterprise operating on the principles of fair trade, through training, the application of a new strategy for reaching niche markets, and the participation of 520 women suppliers in the states of Chiapas, Puebla, Mexico State, the Federal District and Hidalgo.
Talk about community-led development!