With a focus on the young women of the indigenous communities of Hidalgo, Mexico, Ñepi Behña has taken great strides in creating economic opportunities that empower families and build the local community all with the support of generous donations from those all over the world.
Their work in Hidalgo has enabled them to become an integral part of building the Mujeres Indigenas al frente de Justicia Economica (MIJE), or the "Indigenous Women at the Frontlines of Economic Justice" initiative, to expand asset building in indigenous communities through partnership, generate guidelines for asset building for the social justice philanthropy sector, build alliances among indigenous leaders in asset building and explore the results of asset building in communities.
Perhaps the most inventive part of the proposal is the development of a curriculum that is being written by indigenous women leaders that integrates ancestral knowledge, agroecology and asset building for many generations to break the cycle of poverty and ensure economic justice.
Ñepi Behña has shown great success in the implementation of this program. Below is an example of your generosity at work:
To support the women in Hidalgo who are facing economic and social challenges, Ñepi Behña runs an artisanship program and supports a cooperative that produces its Corazòn Verdè products made from naturally sourced agave for the Body Shop and for local retail. To fully engage in poverty alleviation, they have an added element of financial training and several savings and loans groups. Those groups support more than 650 members of the community; 92% are women and 100% of leadership roles are filled by women. In 2002, the women started their savings program and named it, “ABEJITAS.”
ABEJITAS started with 178 members and in the first six months saved 136,613 pesos (USD $11,632). Membership has grown and in 2010 the women saved a total of $16,500 (approximately $57/woman). Now they have inspired indigenously led models all over Mexico.
In addition to saving funds and investing in small businesses, the women in the group organize to provide social and political education to its members. They believe that financial education and asset development is never devoid of its connection to culture, rights, and even the spirit.
In March 2012, the leaders of ABEJITAS will travel, with outside funding unrelated to this project, for the first time outside of Mexico to the Association of Women in Development (AWID) annual conference in Turkey to showcase how indigenous women and community-led organizations at the grassroots level are creating alternative economic models that we can all learn from, making the case that transformative economic power is only possible when grassroots groups are consulted and involved.
This is just one of the success stories that have been made possible with the help of our supporters. Thank you for playing an integral role in creating economic opportunities for previously disenfranchised women and their families.
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IDEX Latin America Program Director