Co-partners of Campesinas
Helping Rural Women and Youth in Central America

Guatemala: Scholarships, Organizational Development in Chichicastenango and Surrounding Rural Villages.

Co-partners began working in Chichicastenango in 2000, initially with the Asociación para el Desarrollo Indigna del Kiché (ADIK) and later with the Asociación de Desarrollo Comunitario (ADESCO) and the Red de Mujeres (Women’s Network). We have sponsored a variety of projects in education (scholarships for children, youth and community nurses and English classes for potential employment in tourism) and income generation (raising sheep and chickens and micro lending). The longest lasting of these projects, since 2008, has been providing schools supplies scholarships in collaboration with the Red de Mujeres (Women’s Network) to keep elementary-age children in school.


Members of the Network identify out-of-school children; talk with their parents about enrolling the child in school; offer a school supplies scholarship; and then follow the child’s attendance and achievement. In 2017, the Red de Mujeres decided to seek legal status independent of its parent organization ADESCO. In many developing countries bureaucratic barriers to legalization result in a long and arduous process. It took the Red de Mujeres almost a year to achieve legal status.


Children with donated school supplies
 
LEARN:  Keep Children in School
 

For ten years, Co-partners has made a donation of $2,000 to the Women’s Network. Initially, the plan was to give 200 children a school supplies scholarship at the beginning of the year and again at mid-year, but the Red has used the donation in a variety of ways, sometimes awarding all the materials at the beginning of the school year and other years giving smaller scholarships to more children. 

Educate Indigenous Women in Isolated Communities


The Network has several educational goals for 2018-2919. They plan a series of five training session on women’s rights in ten communities in the fall of 2018 and a five part series on nutrition in the spring. While in the communities, they will survey women on their interest in literacy classes. When there is sufficient interest, they will coordinate with CONALFA, the Comité para la Alfabetización (literacy committee) to provide community literacy instructors.

EARN: 


Future Chicken Project

For the Women’s Network, Co-partners’ second goal (earn), the women would like to start chicken projects in the communities where they will be doing training in nutrition. This activity will begin in 2019.

LEAD:


Attainment of Legal Status

In seeking and obtaining legal status, the Red de Mujeres is another Co-partners success story. For women to have their own organization gives them the opportunity to practice and learn leadership in a safe environment before taking on leadership roles in the larger community. It also gives them administrative experience in managing donations on a small scale that allows them to move into positions of greater complexity and responsibility.


(Right: Board of the Women's Network)