Econ & Social Development of Indigenous Mexicans

Desarrollo Economico Social de los Mexicanos Indigenas (DESMI) provides financial, organizational and technical assistance to help community groups carry out their own projects and work together in resolving community needs. DESMI supports the development of indigenous collectives of corn and coffee production, animal husbandry, crafts production and opening local grocery stores with the goal of creating an integrated network of producers and consumers as backbone to a strong rural economy.
Aug 8, 2008

Final Update

From July 2008 – June 2009 DESMI constructed 233 wood-saving stoves in 32 different Chiapas communities. The stoves had immediate, significant effects on health and nutrition: they greatly decreased smoke exposure to women and children, and enabled measured-temperature cooking of multiple dishes simultaneously. Aurelia, one of the many beneficiaries of this program, shares her experience:

“Before [having the wood-saving stove], my eyes would get irritated and add to my eye problems. Now, with this stove, the smoke doesn’t affect me anymore. Also, the food tastes better; the tortillas before would sometimes burn, but that doesn’t happen with this stove.”

This simple change will create lasting improvements in the health of communities in Chiapas, Mexico.

Jun 4, 2008

June 2008 Update

DESMI continued its wood-saving stoves program in the Southern Zone and the Altos Zone in Chiapas.

In the Southern Zone, DESMI constructed 111 wood-saving stoves in 13 communities, benefiting 110 families and students from a primary school.

In the Altos Zone, DESMI carried out 1 workshop and technical assistance in its communities to start teaching its members the benefits of using this environmentally friendly stove.

Jun 4, 2008

June 2008 Update

In the past year, DESMI conducted a total of 22 workshops and 83 follow-up visits on Sustainable Agriculture, reaching 950 participants in 131 communities. The participants are “agroecology promoters” chosen by their communities to attend the workshops while making a commitment to training their neighbors in sustainable agriculture techniques. This has a multiplier effect, reaching many more people that those who attend the initial workshops. By region: o In the Southern Zone of Chiapas: 486 people (288 men and 180 women) participated from 48 communities. In follow-up visits, DESMI found that 90 families had created new backyard gardens and 148 families had implemented sustainable agriculture on existing corn, bean and vegetable fields. Of these, 60 families have been implementing such techniques for three years. For those families, production has increased on average by 500 kilos to 1000 kilos total (or double). o In the Highlands Zone: 301 people (167 men and 134 women) participated from 62 communities. A key focus of the trainings in this area was on the promulgation of fruit trees as a source of nutrition and income. Grafting and disease prevention were the skills taught and reinforced in many of the workshops and follow-up activities in the field. o In the Northern Zone: 163 people participated from 21 communities. In this area of Chiapas much of the land is concentrated in the hands of large landowners while many indigenous families have very small plots of land. The training emphasis is on improving soil quality and increase crop yields to make the most of limited land. An important practice is the use of liquid fertilizers and soil amendments. On follow-up visits DESMI found in 12 of the target communities, the participating agriculture promoters had conducted 31 community workshops with their neighbors to share what they had learned from DESMI.