Last September we restarted Tlalana´s activities in Chiapas, in the city of San Cristobal de las Casas. Together with Germinalia A.C we offered the Project Development Workshop for the second time, combining Tlalana´s methodology and philosophy with the experience in workshops and social networks of the organization from Chiapas.
In May 2011 the first joint workshop was held, with facilitators from Adeco and Geminalia. The workshop had 9 sessions, where they worked with a group of 20 high school and undergraduate students, most of them native of surrounding indigenous communities. These young students, compiled in 6 groups, are currently implementing their projects in several rural communities and some popular districts of San Cristobal de las Casas. The projects consist of: development of community and mobile libraries, reforestation campaigns, garbage recycling programs, videos and graphic novels on traditions and festivals of their communities, coffee and handicraft cooperatives, as well as bilingual educational (Spanish-Tzotzil) materials for children and youth. All of them have received seed capital from Ashoka through their Avancemos program to start their activities.
In the current stage, four new groups from San Cristobal de las Casas are being trained, to whom we wish success in the process of defining their projects. In this second workshop, thanks to the agreement made between Germinalia and Adeco, we have made some changes to the previous methodology: we increased the number of sessions and combined dynamics and topics. We are also following up on the projects from the first workshop, whose members have visited us to share their experience with the new participants about the topic to be addressed at that week’s workshop. With their expertise, they are able to support the new members with the development of their ideas and implementation and management of their projects. This new dynamic has helped motivate both groups. It benefits the newest members as they are able to see the success of the initiatives of other young people like them. And those already in the process are able to convey their experiences and knowledge, seeing themselves as valuable social actors who positively impact their communities.
It is planned that both organizations will continue to work together, consolidating each time more groups of young people interested in participating in the processes of change. At the same time, we are joining forces to strengthen the existent networks between the groups in several states. Part of Tlalana’s main objective is to have the young people who join the movement weave mutual partnerships that will enrich their projects, expand their reach, and multiply their experiences.
We will report the results from the workshops´ first generation and the progress of new projects as they arise. As always, we welcome any of your comments and we reiterate our invitation to get closer to our organization’s projects.
The Tlalana Team