Collectives of Indigenous Women
The project is a collaboration between the Women’s Commission to the Norwegian Solidarity Committee for Latin America and Enlace Civil in Chiapas, Mexico. Its objective is to promote development and to augment women's living conditions in the area through a women’s collective, based on training, commercial and productive activities.
Mexico has 32 states, where the southeastern state of Chiapas is the most marginalized. A large proportion of indigenous people here constitute about 40% of the population. Although the region is rich in natural resources, Chiapas is economically underdeveloped, suffers from high unemployment, illiteracy and high child mortality. Chiapas state ranks top in Mexico on infant mortality, primarily due to diseases associated with diarrhea. The state has the highest population mortality. The most common causes of death are tuberculosis and malnutrition. Forty percent of the population suffer from malnutrition, and only 11% earn what the authorities call a moderate income, i.e. $ 3,450 a year.
Enlace Civil was founded by various indigenous groups in Chiapas. The purpose of the organization is to act as a bridge between the groups, national governments and the international community, aiming to improve indigenous peoples' living conditions.
The project is located in Zona Norte, Chiapas, and consists of various women's collectives / co-operative societies working in productive and commercial activities. The target groups are indigenous women and their families. They live in extreme poverty and are marginalized. They experience daily food and water shortages, malnutrition, inequitable land distribution and lack of education and technical resources. Furthermore, women living in a traditional male-dominated culture set clear limits on their development. The women's organizing is the result of indigenous cultural and political resistance, and struggle for autonomy and development.
The organization of women's collective is expected to lead to increased self-sufficiency, sovereignty in local municipalities, and increased employment. The women receive training in practical and technical matters such as administration, veterinary education, animal breeding, computer sciences and baking, while also receive training on gender issues. There are different types of women’s cooperatives such as small shops, agricultural collectives, craft collectives and bakeries. The intention is that over time, more women from the region will join the project.
The project is supported with funds from the telethon ”Dream Catcher”.