According to the UNDP, Mexico is extremely vulnerable to COVID-19. 41.9% of its population already lives at or below the national poverty line. In the rural, indigenous areas in which we work, this number is 86%. With sanitary measures in place until a vaccine is found, indigenous people, especially women, suffer disproportionately. This project uses short-and medium-term micro-economic and nutrition activities to empower, educate and sustain indigenous families in these uncertain times.
Rural Mexico has been quarantined since mid-March. Already marginalized and physically isolated, COVID-19 now deprives many indigenous families of their subsistence-economic livelihoods of selling local goods like handicrafts, coffee and corn. Indigenous women, often the main provider of food for families, are particularly hard hit. While Mexico expects to open up in summer 2020, we don't know for how long zones will stay open, or how long it will take for the demand for these goods to recover.
Mexico's indigenous people weather COVID-19 as best as possible. PSYDEH, too, by merging forward-looking citizen empowering work with short-term direct-assistance. This project supports our nascent 5 indigenous women's organizations with (a) trustworthy coronavirus info they share with neighbors, (b) direct food assistance to 100 families, tied to social enterprise-like investment in selling handicrafts, and (c) training on sustainable use of natural resources as food security.
In normal times, bottom-up, citizen-led development is a must. These are not normal times. Still, we cannot afford to completely turn away from sustained-progress-focused work. This project reflects indigenous partner demands by delivering information and food assistance in a non-paternalistic way, with it being linked to handicraft production and training on sustainable use of natural resources. With success, we endure COVID-19 while planting the seeds for more women-led, local-driven actions.
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