Leadership Program: Promoting Women’s Right to Organize
Project Harvest works with extremely poor, marginalized women who are malnourished and facing discrimination while also caring for and feeding their families. Project Harvest works to both improve their food security and address the causes and impacts of their exclusion and inequality.
Advancing rural women’s empowerment and supporting them to develop stronger voices in decision-making are priorities for Project Harvest. Our program aims to empower women’s groups in the knowledge and practice of their rights in an atmosphere full of challenges. The program provides women’s groups with spaces needed for reflection, so that they can develop the capacity to analyze their situation. A second objective is to strengthen the organizational capacity of women participating in the program, so they can build sustainable organizations, such as boards, committees, or associations. The ability to create organizations for themselves enables the women in our program to realize their full potential in addressing problems such as food and nutritional security.
The Problem: Lack of access to resources
The fight against hunger and poverty is the most pressing issue in rural areas where most of Guatemala’s poor live. Rural women in Guatemala face a range of difficulties in addressing this problem, particularly in accessing productive resources such as land, inputs, and training. This prevents them from realizing their full potential, creating better lives for themselves and their families, and fully contributing to the growth of their communities.
Currently, women are more likely than men to hold low wage, part-time, seasonal jobs. They are also disproportionately responsible for taking care of the household, raising children, and caring for the sick and elderly.
These challenges are embedded in the social, economic, and political processes of the country. However, viable and properly implemented processes for change can empower rural women to transform the living conditions of their families and communities, and enable them to reverse these vulnerabilities.
The Solution: Empowerment
The equality and empowerment of women is known to be central to creating the basis for sustainable community development. It is critical that the empowerment of women be included as a key aspect of any social development program.
Part of the process of empowerment includes acquiring the skills necessary to organize. By “organize”, we mean that women become able to work together in groups to undertake the tasks required to enable them to access and control community resources. This empowerment is an essential strategy to strengthen the well-being of individuals, families, and communities. Project Harvest emphasizes and supports the development of women’s leadership skills and the critical role of coming together and forming an organized body in their communities.