We’ve come to the end of our project, a project that has taught us so much about how to respond to emergencies and crises. This project has allowed us to prepare our new program (Resilient Communities), which came just in time to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and the several hurricanes that hit the southeastern part of Mexico. With the findings of the evaluation of Women Rebuilding their Communities, we were able to provide a rapid response to the several disasters that hit Mexico in 2020:
As was expected, our 15 grantee partners from Women Rebuilding their Communities had to adapt their projects to the new context.
This has been an incredible experience, which we wish to share with all donors and organizations responding to emergencies. We still have a lot to learn and we know that communities in Mexico will still require our support during 2021 with the pandemic and economic recession that continues to grow. We want to thank you profoundly for all your support. We wouldn’t have been able to carry out a three-year project without your support.
September 2017 was a devastating month for Mexico. It started with an earthquake on the 7th, followed by two others on the 19th and 23rd and multiple replicas. Hundreds of lives and thousands of homes and business were lost. Yet, the Mexican people joined forces and began rebuilding their communities. Thanks to your commitment, Fondo Semillas was able to support 24 of these groups in their slow process to recovery. Today, three years after the most famous of those earthquakes, we want to share with you the evaluation of our program.
Some of the highlights include:
Another key aspect explains why disaster recovery actions should focus on women:
It might take 10 years for these communities to completely recover. Maybe even more with the current pandemic taking place worldwide. That is why in Fondo Semillas we are committed to continue supporting recovery efforts with our Resilient Communities program.
Thanks again for your continued support to our objectives. We hope you can share our evaluation so more donors understand the importance of having disaster responses with a long-term and gender perspective.
2020, so far, has been a complicated year for the whole world. Not only has the epidemic forced us inside our houses, changing our whole lives, but the global economic crisis is hitting all of us in different ways. And Mexico suffered a new earthquake on June 23rd, which affected Oaxaca, an area that is still recovering from the 2017 earthquakes.
Nonetheless, our grantee partners have adapted and continue to work in their communities:
Una Mano para Oaxaca, during the first weeks of the quarantine, started using the community speakers to spread information in the local language of what to do to stay safe and to read poems and stories to lift the spirits in the community and keep each other company. They have also started doing online workshops for kids.
We were able to connect Centro para los Derechos de la Mujer Nääxwiin A.C. with a local donor that supplied their women's center with alcohol-based hand sanitizers. They have also partnered with a bigger organization to provide support to women suffering from domestic violence.
Centro de Asesoría para el Desarrollo Indígena A.C. provided women in Puebla with food supplies and emotional support.
At Fondo Semillas, we were able to provide these organizations and others with a small rapid response fund to carry out these activities. And as of June, we have launched our Resilient Communities program to support communities that continue their recovery from past disasters or or are working towards a mid- and long-term recovery after COVID-19.
As always, thank you so much for your constant support and for believing in us. We hope you and your loved ones stay safe.
2020 has started at a full stride in Fondo Semillas. We spent the first month of the year accompanying our grantee partners that were closing the project, so that they could send all the documents needed. We also reviewed the applications to the 2020 extension and decided to provide monetary and capacity-building support to fifteen organizations:
This support allows these organizations to continue their recovery work while strengthening their resiliency tools. They’ll receive more risk-management workshops so that each one of them can produce their own risk-management plan. Some of the projects they will carry out during 2020 include:
El Sueño de Huejotengo is going to focus on strengthening their business model to strengthen their local economy. They got trained on how to produce avocado-based products and how to market them. They’ve even created their own brand called “Nepanyotl Cihuatl”, which means women supporting women in Nahuatl.
Una Mano para Oaxaca is strengthening their cultural appropriation project by creating a zapotec and a music class.
Alianza Cívica Pinotepa Nacional and Comité de Mujeres de la Asamblea del Pueblo de San Dionisio del Mar are building ovens to those affected by the earthquakes that were not part of the last cohort.
For the next grant period that starts in 2021, Fondo Semillas will open a Resilient Communities program to support grantee partners that continue working on the recovery of their communities after a disaster, long after the first three months of the emergency, the time period when most donors tend to respond, and increase their resiliency tools. This way, women will be able to lead processes such as the reactivation of the local economy, the rebuilding of the social fabric, the preparation of a local risk-management plan, amongst others. This 2020 extension will serve as a bridge to install this permanent program.
We are reaching the end of the first part of our project and we wanted to share with you some of the activities we’ve been carrying out.
On November 5th, 6th and 7th, two members of each of our grantee partners participated in our Second Strengthening Meeting in Mexico City. The meeting had the objectives of reflecting on the work accomplished in the reconstruction of their communities and acquiring new tools for the work that will follow next year. They were also able to share their achievements, the obstacles they faced and their plans for 2020. In addition, they received training in communications, fundraising, administration, leadership, how to build a security protocol, self-care for organizations, and how to create a business plan.
“I really like the meetings that Fondo Semillas organizes because they truly seek to strengthen our organizational capacities.” – Nashieeli from Comité Ixtepecano.
“What we’ve learned in this meeting will help us improve our organization to continue working in our community next year. But it has also helped us in the way we think about personal and family relations.” – Karina from Mujeres Luchando por la Autonomía.
We have finalized our personalized strengthening model with each of our grantee partners. Some of the last workshops include:
Through our experience supporting women’s group leading the rebuilding of their communities these last two years, we’ve arrived to the understanding that disasters take a very long time to recover from. Even though media has stopped talking about the impact of the earthquakes in Mexico, we have seen firsthand that there is still a lot to do, especially regarding the intangible aspects such as the economy, the emotional health and the community connections. We have decided to continue supporting fourteen of these groups during all 2020. The grantee partners selected, based on their results during the first phase of the project and their ability to continue rebuilding their communities, will receive monetary and capacity-building support.
None of these would have been possible without your trust and support. Thank you so much for believing in us and our grantee partners to lead Mexico’s recovery.
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