The project's goal is to achieve full participation of indigenous women in Guatemala, and to be heard when it comes to their demands for recognition of their human rights.
In Guatemala, indigenous people make up nearly 80% of the population. Most of them are of Mayan origin. Women's culture and their communities have strong presence in Guatemala's indigenous sectors. One of the major tools that have been used for oppression and exploitation of indigenous women after the civil war is preventing them from gaining knowledge. This applies to general education and training on human rights.
Conavigua is the largest organization comprised of indigenous women in Guatemala. The organization's strength is a combination of broad grassroots support and democratic decision making. The organization participates in a variety of public forums and other bodies where they are spokespersons for their members. They have been and will continue to be a driving force for development that strengthens the position of women in society, and especially girls' rights to quality education, even in remote areas.
Dissemination of knowledge giving women better self-esteem constitutes Conavigua’s goals and methods. Seminars and courses on health, democratic and legal rights are considered important, and will be incorporated into the districts of local women in their own dialects. Girls and women are trained in their native languages and are able to contribute their experiences on how decisions are made on behalf of the organization. To strengthen women's leadership in rural Guatemala and to ensure that women participate in decision making locally and nationally, it is important for Conavigua to continuously build the structure from its grassroots base up to the national board.
The project is aimed at strengthening the organization's structure and operations to enable campaigns for Mayan women's rights and participation in Guatemalan society. To achieve this, efforts are being made in several ways. The group runs educational campaigns, counseling and access to municipal meetings and lobbying. With training and support from CONAVIGUA, it is hoped that women will be better prepared to participate in the forums (especially at the national level) where important decisions about Mayan women occur.
The project is supported by FOKUS with funding from NORAD.