EarthWays began partnering with an indigenous Guatemala non-profit organization, (Association for Integrated Development) in 1997 in its efforts to re-introduce organic agriculture into a traditional Mayan village which was suffering extreme poverty, malnutrition, and even starvation as a result of the war and deaths of a large percentage of men in the region. Those traumas, combined with centuries of being “done to” with no power to control their own destiny, had left the region’s inhabitants, and particularly the women, with a very passive attitude. Thus, facilitators focused on both the practical aspects of organic food production, storage and empowerment.
Facilitators known as promotores are the backbone the projects we support in Guatemala, as they are local people who speak the indigenous language, Maya-Mam. Workshops may teach skills such as composting, erosion control,and grain storage techniques, but more importantly, they provide forums that promote social interaction and openness to change.
One of the many routes to easing the fallout from poverty, racism, sexism, and malnutrition lies in communal experiences of problem solving. In particular, the indigenous women bear the brunt of many of the social ills. Thus, the women’s workshops are especially vital since they are conducted with many young children present. Thus, the effects of these workshops will likely be trans-generational.
Many projects have come into being during our years of collaboration with AFOPADI and the Mayan villages we serve. These include the reimplementation of permaculture, including organic compost, vermiculture, composting toilets, and grey-water recycling; tree nurseries, medicinal plant garden, and silos (fabricated locally) for grain storage. We also support these communities in their efforts to hold local mining companies responsible for damage inflicted on their water supply and other environmental damage.
Project website: www.afopadi.org
Contact: Annemie Kamoen email: firstname.lastname@example.org