In 2013, WEA and Semillas began a multi-year partnership to support Mexican women-led grassroots environmental efforts through small grants and strategy sessions. Through this support, Indigenous women leaders have come together to promote indigenous women’s land rights in 5 Mexican states.
This work is critical since, despite the fact that women play an increasingly central role in environmental protection and management in Mexico, they are typically left out of decision-making the the implementation of environmental policies. Furthermore, gendered approaches to policy are rarely prioritized in environmental and sustainable development projects, and financial opportunities that address environmental initiatives in Mexico do not reach women or women-led projects.
The partnership supports the National Network of Indigenous Women Weaving Rights for Mother Earth and Territory (RENAMITT), a network of Indigenous women leaders promoting women’s rights to land in 5 Mexican states, including: an Odami community in Chihuahua, a Mixteca community in Guerrero, Wixarika communities in Jalisco, a Chinanteca community and an Ayuujk community in Oaxaca, and an Otomi community in Veracruz.
Each Indigenous woman leader designed and is implementing activities to promote women’s land rights in a way responsive to the local needs in her community.
Workshops have been held using the Iguatlanesti model, which focuses not only on women’s rights and land rights, but also on personal development, physical development, spiritual development, cultural history and self-esteem.
- Through workshops, site visits, legal aid, training, and policy advocacy, RENAMITT has reached over 600 people, including 280 indigenous women — among them community promoters, traditional authorities and local justice officials — to advocate for Indigenous women’s land rights. Of the women RENAMITT has reached four have become community leaders.
- A municipal women’s institute was created in an Ayuujk municipality in Oaxaca in order to better respond to local women’s needs.
- Three radio spots were produced around agrarian law, land rights, and women’s roles. The first focused on the rights of Indigenous women in Mexico to own land; the second focused on the expropriation and dispossession of Indigenous lands as a result of federal reforms; the third specifically highlighted indigenous communities in Oaxaca and women’s access to land. Additionally, the radio program“Mother Earth’s Voice” has indirectly benefitted 12,000 people as a broadcast through Mixe Jenpoj community radio.
- RENAMITT members have been able to access alliances with other organizations, such as The Mexican Institute for Community Development, to advocate for RENAMITT at the state-level.
- Information regarding Energy Reform has been distributed through pamphlets, public speeches, informative talks and training workshops to rural and indigenous communities that are directly impacted — seven communities in Veracruz, three communities in Jalisco, and eleven communities in Oaxaca. Moreover, many community members, including indigenous women, now have knowledge regarding legal constitutional framework and laws that regulate indigenous communities’ access to and enjoyment of natural resources on their lands.
About Our Partner
Semillas (Sociedad mexicana Pro Derechos de la Mujer A.C.) is an organization based in Mexico City that works closely with small and emerging women’s organizations and leaders to improve the status of women in Mexico. Semillas is not looking to provide a short-term cure for the conditions of injustice and inequality that many Mexican women experience. Instead, its work is to target the roots that generate these conditions. Like WEA, Semillas believes in solutions that come from community-based organizations.
Semillas provides financial resources, accompaniment and training to women leaders and organizations acting in favor of the rights of women in various states throughout Mexico.
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